What it does
Focused on the retail sector during normal times, it has delivered all manner of other products, including bread.
And it joined the huge logistical effort to get personal protection equipment to the doctors and nurses on the NHS frontline.
Agility really has been a hallmark of the company, which sees itself more a consultant and advisor to its customers than simply a third-party logistics company that carries assorted goods from one end of the country to the other.
That might sound a bit grand. However, Clipper appears really to have thought hard about the value-added services it provides.
One of the first decisions the group made early on was to focus on retail.
“Our view was we’d rather be an expert in one field, which has served us well,” explains chief executive Tony Mannix. “And when the industry started to evolve to online in 2005/6 that gave us a great opportunity to speak to our customers about helping them on that journey.”
How it’s doing
In November, Clipper said it expects to report revenue of at least £300mln for the six months to October 31, 2020, a near 20% increase over the prior year.
Within this, e-fulfilment has grown more than 30% and non-e-fulfilment logistics by around 10%.
The trajectory of growth has been particularly driven by strong organic growth in e-fulfilment and returns-management activities, as well as new contracts coming on stream with retailers including Joules, N Brown, TM Lewin and Revolution Beauty, as well as the NHS.
Continued strong cash generation was reported, allowing net debt to be cut to £27.9mln at the end of the period from £45.1mln since the March year-end.
Earlier in the year, Clipper said it expected to comfortably top the consensus underlying profit forecast of £25.8mln for the full year.
What the boss says: Steve Parkin, executive chairman
"Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Clipper has continued to demonstrate its agility and ability to focus on customer service and providing innovative solutions in a rapidly evolving environment, highlighting the importance not only of robust supply chains but collaboration as well.
- Increasing demand for e-fulfilment and returns management services
- Outsourcing also see uptick in interest
- Contract with Arcadia under negotiation
- Click & Collect services also being encouraged by the government during the pandemic