// VPZ to open 200 new stores across the UK in the next three years
// Will lead to the creation of 1000 jobs
// VPZ started in Edinburgh in 2012 and currently employs around 500 across 125 stores
The UK’s biggest vaping retailer has unveiled an ambitious expansion plan that will see it open 200 new stores in the UK over the next three years, defying current pessimism around the state of the high street.
VPZ – which started in Edinburgh in 2012 – said this would lead to the creation of 1000 new jobs. It currently employs around 500 people across 125 stores.
The retailer outlined the expansion proposals, which features significant expansion in Wales and the South East, in order to keep up with surging demand as smokers put down traditional cigarettes.
VPZ added that its recruitment drive will create new opportunities across the retailer, hiring staff in stores, marketing, sales, manufacturing and finance, as well as hiring new flavour mixologists.
“These plans will treble the size of our business by the end of 2021,” VPZ director Doug Mutter said.
“There are currently three million vapers in the UK market and that is continuing to grow fast, so we need to grow fast ourselves to meet that high demand.”
The news comes after VPZ earlier this year revealed plans to expand into mainland Europe before making a potential stock market debut.
VPZ said it would focus on its UK growth targets this year as well as laying plans for Germany, Spain, France and Scandinavia from next year.
The retailer 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.
VPZ’s expansion plans come just days after regulators in the US announced that San Francisco is set to become the first city to have a complete ban on the sale of vaping products.
Mutter said the UK Government has taken a “more logical” approach to the vaping industry.
While there are significant calls for more research to take place on vaping products, Public Health England’s most recent study suggests that it could be up to 95 per cent less harmful than traditional cigarettes.
In the UK, buyers of vaping products must be at least 18 years of age, and Mutter believes current restrictions are “fair”.