Whirlpools World

ICONIC footwear brand Dr Martens is enjoying a surge in popularity in the Far East where fans want to walk on air.

The British company opened five new Japanese stores, an outlet in Hong Kong and has seen sales rise in South Korea over its last financial year. Revenues in the region jumped by 88% to £22 million; and overall, its full-year revenues rose 25% to £290.6m.

Most of Dr Martens’ boots and shoes are now made overseas, although some 70,000 pairs a year are produced at its Northampton factory, a manufacturing base since 1960.

Its air-cushioned sole was developed by Munich-based Dr Maertens and Dr Funck and the UK patent rights were sold to R Griggs Group.

The footwear was initially marketed as a work boot, but was taken up by the early skinhead youth movement of the 1960s.

And the boots were a staple fashion item of punks in the 1970s and enjoyed a resurgence when Britpop emerged in the 1990s.

“Despite a challenging retail environment, we have delivered double-digit growth across all areas of the business and continue to see the investments in our people, structure and operations as an integral part of our aim to deliver long-term sustainable growth,” said Chairman Paul Mason.

The Dr Martens brand is now owned by investment firm Permira Funds, which acquired it for £300m in 2013.

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