Barbour profits rise despite House of Fraser collapse

British retailer Barbour has posted an impressive set of results despite being hit by the collapse of House of Fraser in 2018.

Annual results for the year ended April 2019 show that the fashion brand, famed for its country lifestyle and wax cotton clothing, increased sales by 11.3% to £225.2 million, with “consistent” growth across the majority of major wholesale and retail markets.

The company was founded in 1894 as a supplier of oilskins and other garments to protect the growing community of sailors, fishermen and dockers. Since then, it has garnered a reputation as a heritage company with an emphasis on weatherproofed outerwear, gaining the endorsement of members of the royal family and celebrities like Alexa Chung.

Barbour said the increase in sales shows “the strength of our brands despite a backdrop of uncertainty and difficult trading conditions on the high street”.

The revenue growth, coupled with cost-saving measures, helped the company post pre-tax profits of £39 million, representing an increase of 16.8% on the previous year. This was despite a significant impact from House of Fraser falling into administration in 2018, a move that left millions of brands struggling with weak balance sheets. Barbour was said to be owed about £3 million when House of Fraser collapsed.

Barbour is owned by the family of founder John Barbour, and led by Dame Margaret Barbour as its chairman.

It distributes under three brands, the classic Barbour, motorcycling-focused Barbour International and the newer Barbour Beacon, launched in 2018 in a bid to attract younger consumers.