By Karen Peattie

FAMILY-OWNED Johnstons of Elgin, the long-established manufacturer and retailer of cashmere and fine woollens, hailed a positive outlook after revealing a 28 per cent rise in sales though warned of inflationary headwinds.

In results filed this week for 2021, the textiles firm – which marks it 225th anniversary this autumn and has about 1,000 staff – recorded profit before tax of £3.9 million on sales that were up 28% on the previous year at £66.4m.

The firm, which runs two mills in Elgin and Hawick, produces accessories, cloth and knitwear for luxury brands and under its own label. It said that demand improved progressively throughout the year and it exited the period with employee numbers at a similar level to before the pandemic in 2019.

Chris Gaffney, chief executive, pointed to a good outlook for 2022, with sales expected to exceed pre-pandemic levels, but cautioned that “some headwinds in terms of cost inflation will start to filter though in the latter part of the year and into 2023”.

He said: “2021 was a year of recovery for Johnstons and we are pleased to have bounced back so strongly.

“The skill of our craftspeople and the creativity of our design team allows us to manufacture beautiful products that live for a long time in our customers wardrobes, while our use of natural fibres and control of our supply chain, through our mills in Scotland, enables us to better manage our environmental and social footprint.

“This combination makes us a strong partner for the luxury brands we work with and an engaging consumer brand in our own right. We expect to continue to recruit staff and invest in additional capacity in the coming years.”

The firm has visitor centres at both its mills, a shop in St Andrews, and flagship stores in London and Edinburgh. Last year, it opened outlets at Kildare in Ireland and Gretna in the south of Scotland.