INTERNATIONAL. Clarks, the largest everyday footwear retailer in the world, has won the prestigious Retail and Leisure International Magazine, International Retailer of the Year Award, in recognition of its progress in building its global brand and expanding its worldwide franchise operation.
The judges were impressed by the brand’s values and commitment to innovation, as well as its store design and quality of offer according to Andrew Climance, Editor of RLI: “The progress Clarks has made in the last 12 months has been exceptional,” he says, “and made them a worthy winner.
“The judges noted not only how Clarks has been evolving the style and range of shoes being produced, but also its work in terms of its highly impactful store designs that are making them ‘destination stores’ which are clearly contributing to increased sales, an expanding number of franchise operations, a better customer experience and re-vitalised brand recognition.”
Clarks has now built its network of mono branded stores to more than 1400 worldwide, of which some 450 are operated under franchise. It opened 48 new franchise stores in 2010 and 90 in 2011, and is on schedule to open a further 100 stores this year. It currently sells more than 52 million pairs of shoes annually – or two pairs every three seconds – and is looking to grow its store network by 350% over the next five years.
And the judges were not only impressed with the company’s global expansion: its investment in planning and logistics and the development of a world-class supply chain were also recognised, as were its marketing strategies and promotions which drive sales that currently stand at some $1 billion per year.
Neil Roberts, Head of International Franchise Development for Clarks, says that working with Clarks is a unique experience: “We’ve been successfully working with an ever growing number of franchisees for over 25 years,” he says. “As well as passing on our knowledge, we listen to our partners and learn from them, enjoying mutual success. This accolade is as much a credit to them as it is to us.”
The RLI International Retailer of the Year Award was presented to Clarks at a ceremony on June 14 at the Natural History Museum in London. Other finalists in the International Retailer category were Parfois, Primark and River Island. Last year’s winner was Disney Store.
The Award is the latest in a series of accolades Clarks has received recently, including Roses Creative Awards within the Exhibition/POS, Corporate promotional literature and Packaging categories for its Clarks Kids and Clarks Originals ranges.
More recently still Clarks was named as the top rated shop in the clothes, shoes and accessories category of Which? Magazine’s Top Rated Shops survey, being commended by its consumers for the high quality of its product. Which? is the largest consumer rights organisation in Europe.
*RLI – ‘Retail & Leisure International’ magazine, www.rli.uk.com