Stationery retailer Smiggle on track to meet target of 200 UK stores

A Smiggle storefront

A Smiggle storefront

Australian children’s stationery specialist Smiggle has ploughed on with its global expansion plans and said it is on track to open 200 stores in the UK by 2019. Earlier this year they unveiled ambitions to open a new store every week for the next three years.

Smiggle said it has opened 40 stores across the country in its full-year to July 30 with new stores in Stirling, Carlisle and Chelmsford taking its UK estate to 74.

It comes as Smiggle posted a 41.8% increase in full-year global sales to $AUS188m (£110m).

The business, owned by Premier Retail, noted that sales post-Brexit vote are “equal to or better” than pre-Brexit, with “strong like-for-likes continuing”. It did not, however, give a breakdown of UK sales or a like-for-like figure.

Premier Retail chief executive Mark McInnes said: “Our first-class team has delivered record sales, gross profit and EBIT in a highly competitive and volatile environment.”

“Our strategy is unchanged and we continue to pursue it relentlessly – investing in expanding Smiggle globally, and delivering a superior online experience for our customers,” he added.

“The sales and customer acceptance of Smiggle in each of the countries we have entered have been exceptional. More than 50% of Smiggle’s revenue for the financial year was delivered by international stores, underscoring our decision to invest in the brand globally.”

The retailer added that the group was continuing to actively review “opportunities in new geographies”.

Earlier this year, Retail Week revealed that Smiggle drafted in Matt Taylor to spearhead its UK property expansion push.

As the retailer’s first head of UK property, Taylor, who joined from retail consultancy MMX Retail, pledged to assist Smiggle in hitting its target of 100 UK stores by Christmas, 160 branches by the end of 2017, and 220 by Christmas 2018.

Smiggle also has stores in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong, and it is pressing ahead with plans to roll out a click-and-collect proposition across its estate.

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