Bank hopes to cash in with UK growth plans

Fashion retailer Bank is poised for aggressive expansion on the back of strong trading and a shift in store design.

The 20-store group, which sells young fashion brands such as Ted Baker and Miss Sixty, aims to have 50 stores over the next five years.

Expansion will be funded from profits and may involve buying another independent chain, said Bank brand director Nick Whitehand.

'We've moved away from being an independent, but traditional independents seem to be suffering. Many are going bankrupt, so there may be opportunities for us,' he said.

The news followed a sharp rise in Bank's net turnover, which more than doubled in the year to February this year, from£10 million to£22 million. In the 13 weeks to May 1, like-for-like sales surged 10 per cent.

Whitehand said the strong performance was mainly because of recent expansion, fuelled by Bank's merger with Fire & Ice in February last year. The merger boosted store numbers from eight to 18.

A further two stores have been added this year, featuring a new look created by Dalziel + Pow. The storefit, designed to cater better for fashion-conscious customers, has been earmarked for all stores, and existing outlets will be refitted over the next 18 months.

Bank founder Andy Scott and former Fire & Ice boss Hoss Mehjoo wholly own the business.