Florida Group

Business Acquisitions

The merger of two iconic shoe companies, both boasting a century of British manufacturing has been secured. 

Florida Group, better known for the brand Van Dal, based in Norwich, has acquired Groococks, situated in Kettering, Northamptonshire and with it, the Padders brand.  Padders was founded in 1914, with a vision to produce high quality shoes that don’t compromise comfort for style.          

The Florida Group, founded in London at a similar time, relocated to Norwich in 1936, a city then thriving with shoe factories specialising in ladies and children’s shoes.  It went on to produce footwear for the armed forces in WWII and in 1946 began to specialise in wider fitting ladies’ shoes.  Van Dal was born!

Today the Florida Group has exclusive distribution rights with brands such as Bearpaw and Bionatura. and partnerships with over 200 independent shoe retailers, as well as twenty concessions in department stores around the UK and Ireland.

Tony Linford, Managing Director of Florida Group, is pragmatic. “Retailers are having a really hard time, which makes supplying them difficult.  I knew if we were bigger we could be more competitive.  Our industry needs to consolidate.  Watersheds understood that and delivered what we needed.  The acquisition of a complementary business, consolidating both production and manufacturing skills, is the perfect fit. “

Operating from their 42,000 sq ft premises, distribution facility and retail factory outlet, Padders employ around 50 people and supplies nationwide independent retailers and healthcare professionals.

William Senior of Watersheds said, “It was a privilege to work with both companies to build a unified business, better placed to face the challenges of the retailing environment. I am delighted at the outcome.”

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For more information call us on Northampton 01604 660511 or Swindon 01793 719788

For more information call us onNorthampton 01604 660511 or Swindon 01793 719788