Smiggle has hired its first head of property in the UK as the Australian retailer ramps up its expansion plans, Retail Week can reveal.

The children’s stationery specialist has drafted in Matt Taylor as leasing executive to spearhead its search for new stores across the country.

Taylor joins from retail property consultancy MMX Retail, where he has served as associate partner since September 2014, and will take up the role next month.

As previously reported, Smiggle is hitting the accelerator on its UK expansion strategy and aims to open one store per week during the next three years.

It has already opened stores in a host of prime locations including Westfield London, Bluewater, Trinity Leeds and Birmingham’s Bullring since making its British debut at Westfield Stratford in February 2014.

Smiggle aims to hit the 100-store mark on these shores by Christmas, and has sights set on 160 branches by the end of 2017, and at least 220 by Christmas 2018. It is also pressing ahead with plans to roll out a click-and-collect proposition across its estate.

Taylor will head up efforts to reach those targets, reporting to Josh Molloy, Smiggle’s global head of property, based in Melbourne.

The retailer will also continue to work alongside property agents from MMX Retail and Harper Dennis Hobbs in the hunt for new locations.

Molloy said the appointment reflected Smiggle’s “ongoing strategy to operate 250 stores throughout the United Kingdom”.

“We are delighted to have someone of Matt’s calibre and experience joining our business,” he added.

“We see this appointment as further strengthening our team and investment into the UK.”