Fashion retailer Fat Face is extending its product range with gymwear and underwear as it vies to grow its store estate.
The retailer has been trialling activewear in 15 stores since spring this year and plans to extend it across further shops next year. It has also recently introduced underwear in selected stores.
Fat Face boss Anthony Thompson said it had launched the new categories on the back of customer demand. “We’ve listened to our customers and given them more choices of what they want. After Christmas, they wanted gym gear,” he said.
Thompson said it was also using web exclusives to trial products and broaden its range. Web exclusives have added £2m in sales to its business over the past year, he said.
Fat Face is also looking to grow its store estate from 325,000 sq ft to 450,000 to 500,000 sq ft in the next three to five years. Thompson said it has a “very strong” pipeline and plans to open 10 new stores a year and relocate and refit between eight to 10 stores.
Fat Face is also close to signing its first US store. It plans to open one of its “holiday format” stores around the Boston coastal area. “We just want to crack on with it. We’ll open a few stores with relatively short leases at first to test the market. I think there’s a huge opportunity for Fat Face there,” he said.
Thompson said it was “business as usual” for Fat Face following the abandonment of its IPO earlier this year. He said he was “disappointed” not to get the float away but insisted it was right to pull its listing as “the equity market changed and affected mid-sized valuations”.
He said: “We’ll keep looking at opportunities in terms of our financial structure but right now our priority is to focus on our customers.”
Thompson said its private equity owner Bridgepoint, which bought Fat Face in 2007, was not actively pursuing a sale of the business at the moment.
Fat Face EBITDA surged 26% to £39.3m in its full year to May 31. Like-for-likes rose 7.6% while total sales increased 12% to £200m.