As the 90s became the noughties, the computer revolution that had started two decades earlier with the invention of the microprocessor continued to transform work and play. And it still does, with the worldwide web, uploading, downloading and emailing all very much a part of almost everyone’s daily routine.
The dawn of the 1990s found Clarks facing some tough decisions. Major changes in world trade meant the company could no longer stay competitive while manufacturing in the UK. Reluctantly, production was moved to the continent. We began in a small way in Portugal, but it wasn’t enough. In the end, we had little choice but to close our UK factory doors and move the entire production process overseas.
It was a change of location but our high standards remained, and remain to this day, the same. Overseas modern factories, many of them purpose-built for Clarks, are audited either by independent auditors or our own on-site teams in order to monitor conditions and promote the best working practices.
The decision to move overseas wasn’t taken lightly. However, coupled with our continuing commitment to quality, new marketing and ad campaigns – including ‘Act your shoe size, not your age’ and the current ‘Enjoy Every Step’ – plus a rebranding in the high street, it has helped us return to the success of the good old days.
Into the future
We’re pleased to say that things are still going well. New technology, state-of the-art facilities and our love of shoes means we’re not only the number one shoe brand in the UK. With continuing growth in North America, Western and Eastern Europe, India and China, we’re also the world’s largest casual and smart shoe company and the fourth largest footwear company on the planet.
We’ve come a long way since Cyrus and James Clark and the ‘Brown Petersburg’. But their vision and passion live on in our shoes. You could say we’re following in their footsteps.