Outdoor retailer Mountain Warehouse is seeking to build an overseas business bigger than its UK operation in the next five years after its management team took full control of the retailer.
Chief executive Mark Neale, who now owns 85% of the business, said the 169 store retailer, which has six stores in Poland, could be “huge” overseas.
Neale, who is eyeing 300 stores across Europe, said he could open 50 stores in Poland and is eyeing launching in Denmark, Holland and Germany.
“We need [locations to be] inclement, with a bit of rain and places where they like doing outdoor activities,” he explained.
Neale and his management team took full control of Mountain Warehouse this week, buying out minority shareholder Lloyds Banking Group’s private equity arm LDC in an £85m deal. Neale led the deal with funding from Royal Bank of Scotland and Alcentra.
LDC, which invested £22m into Joules this week, has held the stake in Mountain Warehouse since August 2010.
Neale said he received “fantastic support” from the private equity firm but added that he was pleased to have regained control of the company.
He said: “Having had four private equity investors over the last 16 years, we have now taken the opportunity to buy back full control and to push ahead with our exciting expansion plans.”
In the three years since LDC invested in the firm, Mountain Warehouse’s turnover has jumped from £47.5m to £75.6m in its year ending February 2013. It has also opened 60 stores over the period.
In its current year, the retailer’s like-for-likes have risen 10% despite the hot summer.
Neale said the introduction of products with a higher price points had been “pleasingly successful”. The retailer had been known for its low priced products. Neale said its revamped stores had also helped drive the sales jump.
The retailer had its “best day ever” last week according to Neale, as shoppers prepared to batten down the hatches ahead of the storm which hit the UK.