Outdoor clothing and equipment retailer Go Outdoors has secured an £18 million investment to fund a substantial store opening programme.

The retailer struck the deal with the Bank of Scotland Corporate to add large outlets to its existing portfolio of nine stores.

Go Outdoors managing director John Graham said: “These are exciting times for Go Outdoors. We have already established a very successful outdoors retail model. Our plan is to build on this by opening more large retail destination stores.”

More stores will bring the retailer into competition with rivals Blacks Leisure and Cotswold Outdoor in certain areas.

Alongside its Sheffield flagship, Go Outdoors also operates seven warehouse superstores at Wakefield, Coventry, Oxford, Stockport, Loughborough, Wigan and Coatbridge, Scotland. It also operates a smaller high street outlet at Hathersage in Derbyshire.

Founded 40 years ago, Go Outdoors has been expanding steadily since 2004.

Retail Knowledge Bank senior partner Robert Clark said the outdoor clothing and equipment sector represents a good long-term prospect for investors.

“It’s a sector that does show promise. As disposable income increases, people are spending more on leisure and it is an area of spend that looks like it’s going to grow in relative terms. Having said that, bigger players like Blacks Leisure have struggled to make consistent headway over the years, so [Go Outdoors] won’t find expansion easy,” he said.