SHAREHOLDERS put the boot into Dr Martens yesterday as a fourth profit warning signalled a loss of three-quarters of their investment in two years.

The boot brand said its profits will be even further below expectations because of ongoing struggles in the US.

Dr Martens’ iconic yellow-stitch boots, first made in the UK in 1960, have since been adopted by punks, grungers, and modern pop stars

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Dr Martens’ iconic yellow-stitch boots, first made in the UK in 1960, have since been adopted by punks, grungers, and modern pop starsCredit: LaRedoute

Sales there have slumped because shoppers are no longer being given post-Covid stimulus cheques to help boost the economy.

There have also been distribution, manufacturing quality and supply chain issues. But the slump in sales has caught the company out.

Shares took a dive by as much as a quarter yesterday before closing at 90.20p, valuing the company at £1.1billion, 75 per cent below its £3.7billion listing price in 2021.

The result means Dr Martens joins a crop of 2021 London listing disasters such as Moonpig, Made.com, Music Magpie and Deliveroo.

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There were early danger signs when Dr Martens was floated by private equity firm Permira for ten times the valuation the buyout firm had paid in 2014.

The punchy valuation raised eyebrows at the time, as it handed Permira a £1.2billion windfall, with senior staff sharing a £350million payout from the listing.

Boss Kenny Wilson, who made £20million from the launch, remains in his role. He said the firm was “undoubtedly facing some more challenging headwinds in the US, but we continue to have faith in our iconic brand and believe in the long-term growth potential”.

Dr Martens’ iconic yellow-stitch boots, first made in the UK in 1960, have since been adopted by punks, grungers, and modern pop stars such as Olivia Rodrigo and Beyonce.

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Soldier on for 78 years

Inventor of the air sole, Klaus Martens

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Inventor of the air sole, Klaus MartensCredit: Getty

1945 — Klaus Martens, a 25-year-old soldier, hurts his ankle while skiing in the Bavarian Alps and invents an air-cushioned sole to protect his foot.

1960 — Shoemakers the Griggs family put the boots into production in Wollaston, Northamptonshire, with a yellow welt stitch.

1967 — The Who guitarist Pete Townshend wears an old pair of Dr Martens 1460 boots on stage and they become popular with youth culture.

Skinheads and punks adopted the boots in the 70s and 80s

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Skinheads and punks adopted the boots in the 70s and 80sCredit: Getty

1980 — They are worn by skinheads and the Sex Pistols make them popular with punks.

1990 — They become the shoe of choice for grunge artists and fans.

2000 — Dramatic slump in sales forces Dr Martens to shut all its UK factories.

2010 — Private equity firm Permira buys Dr Martens for £300million.

2021 — Boot brand floated for £3.7billion on London stock market after strong online sales during the pandemic.

2023 — The brand’s fourth profit warning since floating sees shares tank.

Metro Bank axes jobs to save £50m

METRO BANK is axing a fifth of its workforce and could end its seven-day-a-week opening hours.

The high street lender said that it needs to save £50million to become more efficient, just days after shareholders backed a multi-million-pound rescue deal.

Metro Bank is axing a fifth of its workforce and could end its seven-day-a-week opening hours

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Metro Bank is axing a fifth of its workforce and could end its seven-day-a-week opening hoursCredit: Getty

Metro Bank said that it would also be simplifying its operations and focus on “relationship banking”, or offering a range of services to build customer loyalty. As a result, it expected about 800 jobs to be affected by the changes.

The challenger bank, which has 76 branches, said it was still “committed to stores and the high street”.

But it plans to invest in automating services and back-office operations and improving digital channels. This could mean moving to the chatbot customer assistants used by rivals.

Metro still plans to open more branches in the north of England. The bank’s branch model has come under scrutiny as digital challengers such as Starling, Monzo and Atom have proven popular.

However, Metro’s high street presence and late opening hours until 8pm on weekdays have set it apart.

£2.5billion A.I. boost to Blighty

MICROSOFT is investing £2.5billion in the UK as it builds more AI sites in London, the north of England and Cardiff over the next three years.

Microsoft said the investment — the biggest in its 40 years of being in the UK — will include training a million people in essential AI skills.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt at London site

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Chancellor Jeremy Hunt at London site

It is also launching the first professional certificate in generative AI — tech that creates content itself.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said: “This investment is another vote of confidence in us as a science superpower.”

 Brad Smith, Microsoft president, said the company was committed “to ensuring that the UK as a country has world-leading AI infrastructure.”

The investment comes just months after Smith accused the UK of “discouraging technology innovation” in the wake of UK competition regulators blocking its takeover of Activision Blizzard.

However, the deal has now been approved after making significant concessions.

Hooding to the UK

A TRADING app which became known for sparking a meme stock-buying frenzy during lockdowns is launching in the UK next year.

Robinhood — which helped to ramp up the shares of US firms Gamestop and AMC in 2021 — will give easier access to trade US stocks such as Tesla, Amazon and Apple.

Users will not be able to trade crypto currencies or London-listed shares for the time being.

Mulberry plea

THE boss of Mulberry has renewed his calls for the Government to scrap the tourist shopping tax.

Thierry Andretta said: “Offering VAT-free shopping in the UK would be one of the most effective ways to encourage business growth.”

Since January 2021, tourists have been unable to get a VAT refund on their shopping.

Mr Andretta’s comments come as Mulberry’s overall sales grew 7 per cent to £69.7million — although the brand’s losses quadrupled to £12.8million from £3.8million.


NANDO’S, the home of peri-peri chicken, is opening 14 more restaurants in the UK. Sales in the chain, which has 465 sites, have risen to £1.27billion, although losses were £86.2million on the back of higher costs.


M&B swig loss

THE owner of the Toby Carvery, Harvester and All Bar One chains has suffered a loss despite a bounceback in sales.

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Mitchells & Butlers said the return of socialising after Covid had led to a sales rise of 13 per cent to £2.5billion for the year to the end of September. However it swung to a £13million loss due to higher costs, after making an £8million profit last year.

The group said recent sales were growing at a rate of 7.2 per cent as punters still want affordable meals out.

This post first appeared on thesun.co.uk

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