// VPZ eyes expansion into mainland Europe
// Scheduled to open one store per week week in the UK
// Already running a project with retailers in Spain to test how well its products sell there
VPZ has revealed plans to expand into mainland Europe before making a potential stock market debut as it takes advantage of the increasing demand in the vaping industry.
VPZ director Doug Mutter told the Press Association that the Edinburgh-based vaping retailer is eyeing international markets, with aims to take on Europe by next year.
Mutter said VPZ was focusing on its UK growth targets this year as well as laying plans for Germany, Spain, France and Scandinavia from next year.
The ecigarette retailer is scheduled to open one store per week week in the UK as part of its goal to increase its 120-strong shop estate to 300 by 2021.
VPZ made annual sales of £22.7 million in 2017 and is expected to see revenues climb by 17 per cent in 2018 to around £26.5 million.
The retailer currently employs over 500 staff and is already running a project with other retailers in Spain to test how well its products will sell in the country.
“Germany has a huge smoking population and an up-and-coming vaping industry – but not quite where the UK is yet,” Mutter said.
“We have got a tried and tested model in the UK and we know what to do here – it’s getting that understanding in these other countries.”
The founding brothers are still the only shareholders in VPZ, but Mutter said the company was “geared up and looking towards” an IPO in the next two to two-and-a-half years to help it grow at a faster rate.
VPZ manufactures its own vaping liquids under the Absolute E-Juice brands.
It is capitalising on empty shop space left by recent retail casualties to gain access to prime locations across the UK.
With Public Health England recently stating that ecigerattes are 95 per cent less harmful than tobacco, the UK has seen an increased demand in vaping.
VPZ admits more stringent regulation remains a risk, but is confident the UK Government will not act abruptly.
“The UK market has gone too far for them to bring in draconian regulation measures,” Mutter said.