Outdoor clothing, equipment and camping retailer Go Outdoors has today secured new funding to help drive its growth in the years ahead, as the company aims to open ten stores and create 500 retail jobs annually as part of an ambitious expansion strategy.
The Sheffield-based business has secured a £30 million three-year financial package from Lloyds Banking Group including £12.2 million for trade finance, which will enable the company to work with suppliers and bring in new product lines.
In April private equity firm 3i took a significant minority stake in Go Outdoors, providing a further cash injection to the rapidly growing business, which has been one of the retail success stories of recent years.
Since 2008 the business has expanded from seven stores to 30, with Manchester, York and Stoke the latest additions to the outdoor goods provider’s property portfolio.
Go Outdoors sells products from established brands such as Berghaus, The North Face, RAB and Vango, but also has its exclusive hi gear, North Ridge and Freedom Trail offerings, which accounted for around a quarter of its sales in 2011.
Today’s refinancing deal will allow the retailer to further invest in growing its own product range, an essential strategy for any company looking to boost margins in an increasingly competitive market, and one that firms such as House of Fraser and Debenhams have followed to good effect in recent years.
David Hanney, Chief Financial Officer of Go Outdoors, commented: “We are very pleased with the support given to us by the Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets team in Sheffield, and especially the trade finance support.
“Being able to call on such specialist, local knowledge has been a real benefit.”
Go Outdoors achieved sales of £114.9 million in the year to January 30th 2011, while like-for-like trading was up 10.6 per cent compared to the previous 12-month period.
Revenues from online sales were up 45 per cent over the course of 2010, and further investment in e-commerce development is planned now that re-financing has been achieved.