The high street has its fair share of negative news with store closures and ‘rightsizing’ commonplace, but there are some retailers still opening stores.
Retail Gazette looks at the businesses putting their faith in bricks-and-mortar and pushing ahead with store expansion over the year ahead.
Last month Moss Bros revealed plans to open 10 new stores over the next year after it found that trade had been boosted thanks to its casualwear range.
The retailer, which currently has around 100 stores, was hit hard by declining demand for suits and formalwear during the pandemic but trade is on the up.
Pre-tax profit more-than-tripled against pre-Covid levels to £17 million for the year to January, although sales is not quite back at pre-pandemic levels at £93.1million compared to £128.3million.
However, Moss Bros CEO Brian Brick is confident and sees stores as having a vital role of driving sales.
He says: “I was never in doubt that people would welcome the opportunity to dress up again with the opening of events, as well as weddings.”
The formalwear retailer opened a new Woking store in March, and is in discussions with landlords to secure new locations.
Ted Baker is on the hunt for more stores and has taken an interesting approach to expansion.
The fashion retailer signed a franchise agreement in the UK in March with the Aldrich Group, which plans to open a minimum of 30 new Ted Baker stores over the next decade.
Aldrich Group operates a number of multi-brand stores under the Robert Goddard name, and is the franchise partner of Superdry.
Ted Baker group commercial and business development director Helen Costello says that Aldrick Group’s experience in operating designer stores means that they are “well placed to fully realise the growth opportunity in stores”.
She says: “This partnership is consistent with our capital light approach to growth and further supports our global lifestyle brand.”
The firm has vowed to work in close collaboration with Ted Baker to ensure “the customer transition between own brand and franchise stores is entirely seamless”.
Aldrich Group CEO Oliver Tookman says: “This is a significant opportunity for Ted Baker to increase its customer touchpoints across the UK, by partnering with an experienced, premium fashion retailer, enabling the brand to focus on their product innovation, ecommerce and international growth.”
It is unsurprising that discounter Lidl makes the list. Lidl named itself “the fastest-growing bricks-and-mortar retailer” in January after a successful sales period over Christmas.
Lidl has opened over 50 new stores in the last year alone, and has set a target of having 1,100 UK stores by the end of 2025.
At the turn of the year it opened its 900th store in Liverpool. Additional store openings include two new London stores in Heston and St Mary Cray, Shipley, Merry Hill and Newcastle.
The grocer is investing £1.3 billion in its store expansion throughout this year.
In fact, the grocer called on the British public in April to identify sites for its new stores and said it will pay a finder’s fee to anyone that highlights a suitable location.
The fee will either be 1.5% of the total freehold purchase price or 10% of the first year’s rent for leaseholds. This would equate to £22,500 for a completed £1.5m site purchase.
Lidl GB chief development officer Richard Taylor said: “We’re opening an average of one new store a week, which is incredible, and our teams have done a phenomenal job of keeping that pace going over the last couple of years.”
Unsurprisingly Aldi is also pushing ahead with store expansion and unveiled plans to add a further 100 stores to its retail estate by 2023.
The discounter has pursued the strategy of opening a new store each week as it aims to grow its grocery market share.
Aldi will invest a total of £1.3bn into its store expansion over the next two years.
The retailer’s ideal sites are 20,000 sq ft on main roads that offer visibility and have space for a car park for 100 vehicles.
It is currently looking for sites on main roads that could accommodate a 20,000ft² store, offer visibility and access and have space for around 100 vehicles to park.
Aldi UK communications director Richard Thornton says: “We’re continuing to gain even more customers – with over 60% of UK households shopping with Aldi in the last year.
“Our focus is on expanding our store estate, making sure Aldi is accessible to as many of these new shoppers across the country as possible.
Screwfix is set to open 80 new shops across the UK and Ireland by January next year, which will create 800 new jobs. This is on the back of the 70 stores it opened in 2021.
The Kingfisher-owned retailer has a big pandemic winner as it benefited from the surge in people carrying out home improvement projects.
Screwfix chief executive John Mewett said its expansion plans are responding to sustained demand from tradespeople who need tools.
Mewett said: “In opening more stores across the UK and Ireland, we’re making Screwfix even more accessible to tradespeople, ensuring they can get their job done quickly, affordably and right first time.
“We’re also delighted to be having a positive impact on local communities, creating more than 800 jobs for local people.”
Crew Clothing unveiled plans in March that it will open 8 to 12 new stores this year as it looks to acquire units in market towns and coastal locations.
The retailer’s chief executive David Butler said at the time that three stores were expected to open by mid-April; one in Ireland and two in the south-east of England.
Crew Clothing added that the plans come as a result of the company “testing” store expansion throughout the pandemic.
In 2020, Crew Clothing opened 20 stores across the UK, including Milton Keynes and Exeter, taking its store portfolio to around 100.
Amazon Fresh, the online giant’s checkout-free grocery store, revealed plans earlier this month to open the first UK store outside of London in Sevenoaks, Kent.
It comes on the back of an extensive roll-out in the capital where it opened 15 stores last year.
Amazon is understood to be planning to roll out 260 Amazon Fresh stores across the UK over the next three years in a bid to take on major supermarkets like Tesco, Sainsbury’s and the Co-op.
Homebase revealed on Monday that it has opened a new 30,500 sq ft store in Chester’s Greyhound Retail Park just in time for the Jubilee bank holiday weekend.
Previously a unit occupied by John Lewis & Partners, this opening follows recent store openings in Abingdon, Bradford, Cheltenham, and Coventry for Homebase.
The retailer has also teamed up with Tesco to launch its products in shop-in-shops within its supermarkets.
The first store opened in Borehamwood on March 19, followed by Walkden and Woolwich in April.
This latest partnership follows the success of Homebase’s tie-up with Next, which saw eight Homebase garden centres open in Next stores in Southampton, Norwich, Shoreham, Ipswich, Warrington, Camberley, Bristol and Sheffield last year.
Cake Box revealed last month that it is planning the opening of 52 new shops as new store openings continue to drive growth for the business.
Sales rocketed 91% to £16.4 million for the six months up to September 30, 2021, which Cake Box attributed to the opening 20 new franchise stores during the half-year period.
At the end of March it had 157 stores across the UK. The business is also continuing to roll out its kiosk offer from existing franchise outlets.
Cake Box also revealed plans to expand its kiosk deal with Asda, opening 10 new sites in the supermarket during the year.