The owner of Select has insisted that the fashion retailer needs 350 shops on the high street despite a growing online business and challenging economic headwinds.
The value womenswear retailer’s owner and chief executive Cafer Mahiroglu said he wants to open 200 stores in the next five years to serve its growing customer base. He said shoppers have been attracted by the quality of its products and its average price per item of £7.34, which he claims is considerably lower than its rivals.
Mahiroglu was bullish on the retailer’s store expansion plans. He said: “In five years time, the online question may be different but you need to be seen on the high street as much as the internet.”
Select has hired property firms Cushman & Wakefield and Rowley Hughes Thompson to find 40 stores a year over the period and is targeting an increase in its presence in London, the South and Southeast.
The retailer opened 30 stores last year to bring its portfolio to almost 150 shops. It is now seeking stores of between 2,500 sq ft and 4,000 sq ft.
Mahiroglu rescued the chain in 2008 and turned his first profit last year. He said like-for-like sales rose 17% in 2012 and were tracking at a similar rate in 2013.
“We are going to have nice profit growth this year,” he added.
Select has already refitted 60 of its stores to a new design which features new lighting, flooring and merchandising.
The company will open a new distribution centre for online products in Watford later this month after booming online sales.
Select is plotting the launch of a click-and-collect service, as well as introducing iPads for staff, later this year. It will also launch local language sites in Russia and France.
He added that he felt optimistic about Select despite the difficult trading conditions. “People will still come to you if you have good quality products and they know they are not getting ripped off,” he said.