Go Outdoors is looking to open shops in more prime locations as it bounces back into the black.
Go Outdoors chief executive Chris Matthews, who joined the outdoors specialist in May from his role leading Dixons’ Greek business, initiated a strategic property review at the retailer that generally trades in tertiary retail parks. The review, which is nearing its conclusion, will determine the fast-growing retailer’s expansion plan.
Matthews said: “Our Milton Keynes flagship is our first in a prime location and it’s performing to plan. It opens up a new opportunity for us and our future expansion.”
The 40,000 sq ft Milton Keynes store, which opened in April, is based on the Central Retail Park that also counts B&Q, Next Home and Halfords as tenants.
Go Outdoors, which is backed by private equity firm 3i, has grown rapidly over the past few years. The 44-store retailer had just 11 shops in 2009.
It added four stores to its estate last year that it has followed with three so far this year. Matthews said it has more openings in the pipeline.
He added that Go Outdoors was one of the few brands that could work in both prime and tertiary locations.
The retailer returned to profit in its last financial year as sales jumped 19% to £171m.
It made a £1.5m pre-tax profit in its year to January 27, against a £2.6m loss last year, and EBITDA increased 10.6% to £9.4m.
Matthews said current trading was in line with expectations with the recent sunny spell boosting sales and cancelling out the impact of the long, rainy spring.
He said: “2012 was a solid year for Go Outdoors with strong sales growth and significant investment in new space that will serve the business well as the economy continues to improve. We are on track to make further progress in the current financial year.”
The retailer’s online sales soared 41% over the year bolstered by click-and-collect which has been “performing strongly”, according to Matthews. Go Outdoors last week launched free delivery to store.
The retailer reduced its debt from £14.6m to £12.7m over the year.