Gadgetshop hopes to double numbers

Chris Gorman, chairman of Gadgetshop, is hoping to nearly double the 43-strong chain next year if this Christmas proves the success he is hoping for.

Gorman, who led an investment consortium to take a 90 per cent share in the business in May, said the chain is ready for a rapid expansion following cost-cutting and a stabilisation of the business.

'We've put everything in place now. The product range is right now, the new trading concept (where the traditional central unit has been taken out) is working extremely well and average transaction values and customers are up,' said Gorman.

He said like-for-like sales have risen by 15 per cent since he took over the business at what is a quiet time for the gift market. The new trading concept, which was initially piloted in London and Glasgow, has prompted sales rises of 20 per cent.

Gorman already has four new sites that will open before Christmas. Stores will open in London's Trocadero Centre, London's Liverpool Street station and Basingstoke. The retailer will also reopen on Oxford Street with a new store in a former Vestry unit.

It pulled out of a flagship site on the street earlier this year. A fifth store, in Edinburgh, is under negotiation.

Gadgetshop has launched a recruitment drive to find 200 new permanent staff and 300 part-time Christmas staff to cope with the expansion.

However, Gorman said the real growth will come after Christmas - Gadgetshop's key trading period. 'If Christmas goes well, I would want to add at least another 20 to 30 stores next year,' he added.