New contracts and successful acquisitions made for a strong 2017/18 at Clipper Logistics, which saw both its turnover and profit soar.

The e-retail specialist saw turnover increase by 17.6% in the year ended 30 April 2018 to £400.1m (2017: £340.1m). Pre-tax profit for the year was up by 11.8% at £18m (2017: £16m).

Organic growth from existing customers including Asda, Morrisons and Wilko boosted Clipper’s cash flow during the year, as did new contracts with Edinburgh Woollen Mill, River Island and ASOS, among others.

The operator also signed a “significant” new deal with Pretty Little Thing before its year end, but as the operation only went live this month the financial benefit will be felt in its new financial year.

The deal, which will have 1,200 peopleworking on it by the close of 2018, will be run from a new dedicated 600,000ft² warehouse in Sheffield.

Clipper said two acquisitions it made during 2017/18 had contributed to its solid financial performance during this year.

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The operator bought Tesam Distribution for £11m in May 2017, and in its results document said the integration of the company into Clipper was complete and generating money, although a bigger benefit would be felt after a full year or ownership in its 2018/19 results. Clipper also bought technical services business RepairTech in June 2017.

Location, location

The operator opened a site in Poznan, Poland during the year, out of which it operates a returns service for ASOS. It intends to open a second site in the area to facilitate a new contract win. The build on the second site is scheduled to complete before the end of 2018.

A new site in Crick will also open in Clipper’s 2018/19 year following a scaling up of its work with customer Halfords.

The results document adds that “Zara has announced its intention to transfer a significant additional activity into Clipper”.

Steve Parkin, executive chairman at Clipper Logistics, said: “We are conscious of the wider forces affecting the UK retail sector; whilst this means that we have to bring an element of caution into our planning, recent contract wins, together with a strong pipeline of new business activity and the further evolution of our Click and Collect proposition, leave the group well positioned to achieve further growth both in the UK and internationally.”

Parkin added that Clipper’s expertise in e-fulfilment and returns management “provides the group with exceptionally strong strategic positioning for the future.”