Smiggle has announced it has put its “foot back on the accelerator” for UK expansion following a post-Brexit sales boost.
The Australian stationery retailer has revealed plans to open 235 stores by 2019, after an unexpected boost in sales following the referendum reignited its confidence in the UK’s market.
According to the retailer, its affluent customer base is better positioned to weather the economic headwinds brought on by rising inflation which reached its highest level in four years recently.
“After the vote we took our foot off the gas, we paused. But then like-for-like sales actually went up in the post-Brexit vote period, so we put our foot back on the accelerator,” Smiggle managing director John Cheston said.
“We are elated with business in the UK, and our intention was to open 200 stores by 2019, and that’s still the aim, but we might increase that.
“It’s not a perfect science. Depending on the circumstances, we could open 235 to 240.”
The firm currently employs 1000 UK staff members, but it plans to double this number in the next two years. Last year its UK arm reported a £3.8 million pre-tax profit with sales of £29 million.
Cheston added that although Brexit has failed to dent UK sales, the recent terror attacks in London and Manchester have damaged footfall.
“What’s had the bigger impact is the London and Manchester terror attacks, that’s seen lower footfall in shopping centres, for example,” he said.
“But Brits have been through it all before with the IRA, so they are again just getting on with their lives,” Mr Cheston said.