Sofa specialist aims to double store chain
Leather sofa specialist Land of Leather is to be the first main market retailer flotation this year.

The 67-store group has announced plans for an IPO on the main market and is likely to be valued at between£90 million and£110 million.

A team of heavyweight board members has been recruited. They include Peacock Group chief executive Richard Kirk as a non-executive director and former Sainsbury's group finance director Roger Matthews. They join (left to right) chief financial officer Clive Hatchard, chief executive Paul Briant and managing director Steve Jenkins.

Broker Investec will place shares with institutions and there will be a free float of approximately 50 per cent. Flotation will allow leading stakeholder SB Capital to realise much of its investment made last year and enable the value furniture retailer to move onto the next phase of growth.

Land of Leather chief executive Paul Briant believes flotation would bring many business benefits. He said it would enable the retailer to pay off existing debt, compete more effectively for property and improve recruitment appeal. The disciplines of being a quoted store group would also help, he added.

Land of Leather believes there is potential for 120 stores altogether, and is making its first forays into Wales and Ireland. The retailer sources 70 per cent of product from the Far East, China in particular, and hopes to build sales through add-on sales such as coffee tables, lamps and rugs.

Briant said that between December 26 and May 29, sales climbed by 9 per cent and had been 'north' of that in the past two months.

See Retail Week on Friday for details of Land of Leather's retail plans.