Ann Summers is eyeing international markets to expand its lingerie and sex toys business.
The retailer is exploring markets including the US, Australia and Europe, and chief executive Jacqueline Gold told Retail Week she predicts international sales will surpass the UK within 10 years.
She said there is “huge international potential” for the brand, which currently has just one overseas store in Valencia, Spain. “There’s a lot of brand recognition,” she said. “The US and Australia would get our sense of humour. We’d do very well in Europe too.”
Ann Summers has not yet confirmed which markets it will debut in but it will launch an international ecommerce site first. Ann Summers is currently replatforming its website to enable the move.
Gold said it was waiting for the economy to improve before pressing the button overseas. She said: “We’re waiting for green shoots before we make our next move.”
Ann Summers has experimented internationally in the past with franchise stores in Dubai and Kuwait. It will opt for company-owned stores this time around.
The international move comes after the retailer carried out research into the brand, which found Ann Summers needed to “rediscover its mojo” according to Gold. She said findings will result in a refocus on product, a store reformat as well as moving overseas. The retailer is also planning a click-and-collect service.
The retailer has also begun the process of revamping its lingerie range, which is becoming more fashion-led, as it seeks to differentiate from its competitors. It is also mulling opportunities to expand its Knickerbox businesses by developing concessions in other retailer’s stores.