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The Future of Dr Martens


Dr. Martens have always been the ultimate 2000’s punk British symbol. The platform big shoes of many colours, the statement piece of every outfit, the perfect shoes for a rockstar.

There was once a period where if you didn’t own Dr. Martens, you weren’t in trend. However, shares in Dr. Martens have plunged in past weeks after one of its major investors decided to take part of its shares out of the stake.

Shares suddenly dropped from £4,21 to £3,80, making it the largest ever fall for the company.

What Happened?

Permira is the private equity firm that has owned the shoe brand for the past 14 years. The investment group had a 75% stake in Dr. Martens when it released its IPO in January 2021.

However, the greatest fall in shares was just last month as Permira offloaded 6,5% of its stakes, while retaining 37% holding, which led them to gain £257M.

Though shares seem to have been sold at a very low price for the stock, at this scale, it is normal that a brand this large will be sold at a discount.

As Dr. Martens’ symbolic stance, the brand has great longevity. This means that shares will continue to be sold-off on end, leading to successful dividends in time.

Why the Fall in Shares?

Dr. Martens is thus being sold little by little in the hope of making profit before it’s too late. This might be because the brand has completely shifted ethics from its past.

Even if the “Made in England” label still appears on some soles, 2% of the shoes are actually made in Northamptonshire, Leicestershire and Somerset while the rest of the production has been moved to Asia, in particular China.

Source: Shutterstock

The quality has decreased – even if the brand’s executive Kenny Wilson, robustly denies it, Dr. Martens keeps on fading into British rock and pop history. 

Furthermore, the British shoemaker was severely hit by the Coronavirus market collapse. Stores and supply chain centres closed one by one, sending its sales plummeting by 40%, and hitting Japan’s manufacturing market particularly hard. 

What Does the Future Hold For Dr. Martens?

It is clear that its huge drop last month means that, aside from Permira who still seems to believe in the brand due to its large residual stake, other investors might not see a bright future for Dr. Martens.

According to Refinitiv, the global data provider, the brand’s annual revenue is expected to slow down over the next two years to 14% from a high of 48%. 

From one side, the brand’s future seems unclear. It is difficult to see Dr. Martens continuing to be the iconic shoe maker it once was, with the social position it once held, without reminiscing about the past.

From another perspective however, Kenny Wilson does not seem to want to give up. As for 2022, the company has great plans. They are expected to open 20 to 25 new stores globally, and to achieve market expectations by the end of this fiscal year.

Source: Dr Martens

Little by little, the unisex and rebellious shoe brand has been trying to catch up with its losses, with a few conquests in online trading and e-commerce growing overall sales by 73%. 

The future of Dr. Martens is more than uncertain. There are great promises being made but huge counterbalances seem to be pushing the brand further down the line of oblivion, leaving its place in British rock and pop history a distant memory.

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