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Dr Martens repays furlough money to Government after sales boom

People walking outside a Dr. Martens store on Carnaby Street, London
Dr Martens has repaid its furlough money to the government (Picture: Getty Images)

Dr Martens has repaid its furlough money to the Government after better-than-expected trading during lockdown.

The British footwear brand said sales rose by nearly 50% in the year to June, while profits soared by 110% to £142 million. Chief executive Kenny Wilson said it had been a year of ‘exceptional growth’ for the 73-year-old brand, despite being forced to shut stores after the UK went into lockdown on March 23.

The company had claimed furlough payments under the Government’s coronavirus job retention scheme, covering 80% of pay for retail and manufacturing staff, between March and June.

However, the firm confirmed the money had been repaid, joining others such as Games Workshop and Spectator magazine, which have also handed back public funds.

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Mr Wilson said: ‘The last few months have been a very challenging time for everyone and I am extremely proud of the resilience and commitment our teams have shown, which has enabled us to continue delivering for our customers throughout the pandemic.

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‘Looking ahead, while we are currently in a volatile and uncertain trading environment, we have a very clear strategy in place supported by a strong brand and consumer connections, and I am confident in the outlook for the business.’

A retail worker wearing PPE (personal protective equipment), of a face mask or covering as a precautionary measure against spreading COVID-19 (R), cleans the window of a Dr Martens shoe shop on Princes Street in Edinburgh on June 29, 2020
Dr Martens’ sales rose nearly 50% despite lockdown (Picture: Getty Images)

The furlough scheme is due to end on October 31 after Chancellor Rishi Sunak granted a four-month extension.

Last week, Sunak warned some jobs won’t be available after the scheme ends but said ‘most reasonable people’ agree the government cannot keep paying wages ‘indefinitely’.

He said: ‘In those situations it’s better we look forward and provide those people with new opportunities.’

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected].

For more stories like this, check our news page.

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