Retailer set for expansion
American Golf is considering a float and could list on AIM within three years.

Chief executive Jonathan Fellows, who led a management buy-out in August last year backed by Lloyds Development Capital and Royal Bank of Scotland, said the huge potential for growth had been viewed by analysts as a good driver for a float.

'A float is something we could end up looking at,' he said. A secondary buy-out could provide an exit for investors before then, although Fellows insisted the retailer was under no pressure.

American Golf has opened 10 stores since the MBO. It has also identified potential for up to 400 outlets, including boosting its store portfolio from 70 shops to about 180 and adding up to 150 Pro Shops at golf courses and resorts. Concessions and outlet stores are also being considered.

The retailer has drawn up a list of 40 priority locations, including central London.

A second attempt at entering the European market is also being considered. However, unlike its previous failed franchise foray, the retailer would this time launch its own stores. American Golf has also formed an alliance with German retailer GolfHouse to pool its experience.

Since the MBO, the retailer has dropped its Discount tag and revamped its store design, product and marketing. A range of own-brand products will be introduced next year.

The retailer wants to increase its share of the£435 million golf market from 20 per cent to nearer 50 per cent.