As Castore announced today that it has raised £150m in new capital investment, co-founder and chief executive Tom Beahon speaks to Retail Week about the sportswear retailer’s meteoric rise and expansion plans, the importance of global partners and the key to success moving forward

Manchester-based sportswear brand Castore was founded by brothers Tom and Phil Beahon in 2016, who dreamed of creating a premium alternative to the likes of Adidas and Nike.

Phil (left) and Tom Beahon (right), Castore

Tom Beahon (right) founded Castore with his brother, Phil (left), in 2016

Despite receiving several rejections and their idea being called “crazy”, the duo’s parents remortgaged their house to allow them to bring their vision to life.

Fast-forward seven years and Castore has an array of global sports team partners, including McLaren and Red Bull Racing, tennis legend Andy Murray is now a shareholder and the business is valued at £950m.

After securing a fresh £150m investment, co-founder Tom Beahon sat down with Retail Week to discuss Castore’s latest achievement.

Does today feel like a milestone for Castore?

“It really does. It is sometimes hard to stop and take a step back and reflect on things, particularly when you’re building a business as quickly as we have with Castore. You’re constantly in the trenches – there’s another opportunity, another challenge, something exciting to do every hour of every day.

”I think Castore is the classic entrepreneurial story. When we started, we had no capital, no connections and very little industry knowledge – nobody really that could help give us a leg up. We did have a huge amount of passion and a very clear vision of what we wanted Castore to be. Most importantly, we had a sheer refusal to give up, which is not something to be overstated when trying to build a business.”

What’s next for the brand?

“I’m an optimist by nature so, while there are always challenges out there, my instinct is to look for the opportunities. Particularly with this capital raise that we’ve done, we’ve got the opportunity to plan and invest for the long term, to invest strategically and think about where we want Castore to be in five years.

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Castore intends to grows its store portfolio, both in the UK and overseas

“We want to double down our investment in high-quality fabrics to ensure that Castore is recognised and respected all over the world for creating products that make athletes better. 

“We also want to expand our footprint. We’re really excited to roll out and grow our store portfolio, not just here in the UK, but across Europe and further afield. We opened our first Castore store in Dubai earlier this year and it has been a knockout success, and traded way above even our most bullish expectations. We’re really excited to grow our presence in the Middle East, the Far East and Asia. 

“Aligned with that, we want to invest in our ecommerce capabilities and data analytics. I have a strong belief that the next generation of winners within retail will be those brands that understand their customers better than anyone else and can get feedback faster than their competitors.”

Castore has a vast partnership portfolio. Are there plans to grow this further?

“We’ll definitely be looking to expand the partnership portfolio in an ambitious but disciplined way. One of the big gaps in the market that we saw was that Nike and Adidas generally focus almost all of their resources on a very small number of teams. Castore has a unique model in this market, partnering with those teams that are overlooked by the big brands, and that is absolutely something that we will continue to accelerate further. 

“We are incredibly ambitious and we absolutely want to be a global brand, so we will never stop dreaming big and we will see where those dreams take us.

“I always say that, in times of difficulty, consumers fall back into passion purchases. They might cut back on certain things, but they very rarely cut back on the things they are most passionate about. Sports fans are generally very passionate about their team, so for Castore to be partnered with global teams and to be selling sportswear globally means we are in a very exciting market.”

What are your priorities for Castore’s future success?

“There are two that are really important. The first is product: if our product is not superior to Nike or Adidas, we have no reason to exist in this market. We will always try to find the fabrics and details that big brands maybe overlook; that will be incredibly important going forward.

“Secondly, people make businesses. We have created more than 500 jobs, the majority of which are based in the North West of England, and as a guy born and raised in the North West, I am very proud of that. 

“We are a speedboat in a market of oil tankers, we live and breathe disruption and innovation, and that doesn’t come from Phil and I as founders – it comes from our people. If you get product and people right, you’ve got a great chance at being successful.”