C. & J. Clark
|Founded||Street, England (1825 )|
|Founder(s)||Cyrus Clark and James Clark|
|Headquarters||Street, Somerset, England|
C. and J. Clark International Ltd, trading as Clarks, is a British, international shoe manufacturer and retailer based in Street, Somerset, England. For the year ending January 2010, the company made a profit of £125 million on sales of £1,174m, making it the 33rd largest private company in the UK. It is 81% owned by the Clark family, with the remaining 19% held by employees and related institutions. In 2011, the company had around 1,000 stores in 160 countries.
Started in 1825, by Quaker brothers Cyrus and James Clark, as a business making sheepskin rugs and slippers, using out-workers in the village of Street, it has expanded to become a global shoe brand, with operations in Europe, the United States and the Far East.
For much of the life of the business, the company manufactured its own shoes in Somerset, building several factories in the area. The company's Quaker ethos made provision for workers' housing, education and leisure activities, while its keen social conscience kept Street 'dry' for many years. Rising costs and low productivity prompted the company to move production abroad, and while shoe design is still predominantly done in the United Kingdom, all manufacturing has now moved to India, Brazil, Cambodia, China, and Vietnam. In 1993, redundant buildings at its Street site were opened as Clarks Village, which includes more than 90 shops. There are also coffee shops, refreshment stalls, and a dining area shared by fast food chains, mostly selling goods at a discount to high street prices.
Clarks has created a number of iconic styles during its history, including the Clarks "Wallabee", the Clarks "Desert Boot", and the Clarks "Playdeck" sandal.
The "Playdeck" sandal was made for men, women and children, from the 1950s to the early 1990s. A popular style of sandal, it consisted of a flat crepe sole unit, a leather insole, a plain ankle strap and two buckling straps, one at the instep and the other at the toes. It came in a variety of colours, but most popular were bamboo(tan), navy blue and white. Clarks reintroduced an almost exact copy of the original Playdeck style in their Spring 2010 Originals range, with a style called Kestral Soar, which is virtually identical to Playdeck save for a very small wedge in the heel.
Clarks Companies North America's logistic centre is based in Hanover, Pennsylvania, near the Maryland state line. In the recent years of growth, this facility was deemed a Federal Trade Zone, and has expanded its warehousing locations across town.
Clarks shoes are popular in Jamaica — thanks to Jamaican dancehall artist Vybz Kartel. In some cases, shops are sold out and thieves target them. Local music star Vybz Kartel released a single called "Clarks" with the cover carrying pictures of his favourite styles — Wallabees, Desert Boots, and Desert Treks. The dancehall track features the catchy chorus line "Everybody haffi ask weh mi get mi Clarks". The lyrics refer to Elizabeth II wearing them.
Clarks have become known for their ranges of children's shoes and advertisement campaigns based upon the "Back to School" time of year. The brand's reputation has also been boosted amongst adults, as musicians such as Florence Welch, Nick Cave, Bob Dylan, Dizzee Rascal and Robbie Williams have been spotted wearing them.
C & J Clark brands include Clarks; Pr!vo (pronounced "Privo"); Indigo; Artisan, Wave, Unstructured, Bostonian; K Shoes; and Ravel Shoes.
1825: Cyrus Clark founds a tanning and wool stapling business in the village of Street, in Somerset, England.
1828: Joined by brother James, Clark begins producing sheepskin slippers, called the Brown Peter.
1833: James becomes a full partner; business is renamed C&J Clark Ltd.
1863: William Clark, son of James Clark, takes over the company.
1893: The introduction of the "Hygienic" line of shoes begins the company's focus as a "comfort" shoemaker.
1937: The company acquires a retail shoe store chain and renames it Peter Lord.
1950: The company launches the successful Desert Boot.
1965: The first Clark Wallabee model is launched.
1979: The company acquires the Bostonian shoe manufacturing and retail business in the United States.
1981: The company acquires K Shoes Ltd., a U.K.-based shoe manufacturer and retailer.
1988: C&J Clark abandons its plans to go public.
1993: The company puts itself up for sale, then rejects an offer to buy from Berisford.
1996: The company begins restructuring, transforming itself from a manufacturing-oriented business to a consumer-driven, design-oriented branded products group.
2000: The company announces that it has decided not to go public for the near future.
2001: The company acquires Elefanten, a children's shoe manufacturer in Germany.
2005: Clarks ends shoe manufacturing in Somerset and the UK.
- "Clarks". 2010 Top Track 100. Fastrack. Retrieved 21 December 2010.
- Barkham, Patrick (9 March 2011). "How the Chinese fell in love with Clarks shoes". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 October 2012.
- Sutton, George Barry (1979). C&J Clark 1833-1903: History of shoemaking in Street, Somerset. ISBN 0-900657-44-8.
- "REALM corporate brochure" (PDF). REALM. p. 11.
- "History 1946-1990". Clarks Shoes. Retrieved 7 December 2010.
- "About & Historic Timeline". Clarks shoes for women. Retrieved 7 December 2010.
- "Clarks CO North America, C & J Clark America, Inc". Manta. Retrieved 7 December 2010.
- "Grant of Authority for Subzone Status; C&J Clark America, Inc. Distribution Facility (Footwear), Hanover, PA". Federal Register. Retrieved 7 December 2010.
- Turner, Rasbert (27 April 2010). "Stores robbed of Clarks shoes". Jamaica Star. Retrieved 12 December 2011.
- Serwer, Jesse (24 June 2010). "Vybz Kartel puts Clarks footprint on Jamaica". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 24 October 2012.
- "Back to School with Clarks". Clarks. Retrieved 7 December 2010.
- "Clarks Bostonian". Vans Men's Shoes. Retrieved 7 December 2010.
- "C&J Clark International Ltd. Business Information, Profile, and History". Jrank. Retrieved 7 December 2010.
- "Clarks ends shoemaking in Somerset". BBC. April 2005. Retrieved 24 October 2012.
Mark Palmer, 2013, Clarks, Made to Last: The Story of Britain's Best-KInown Shoe Firm
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