Mamas & Papas is to focus on city centre locations for expansion following the opening of its second new-look city centre store format in Westfield London last week.
The maternity specialist’s founders, husband and wife Luisa and David Scacchetti, said that the city centre format store opened in Birmingham’s Bullring at the end of last year has proved successful.
The retailer, which has traditionally focused on out-of-town sites, hopes to take the format to other city centre locations this year. The two-storey sites offer fashion on the ground floor and pushchairs, furniture and gifts on the second floor.
As well as the positive results from its Birmingham store, the success of its flagship Regent Street store has encouraged Mamas & Papas to pursue other city centre locations, including Liverpool and Manchester, to roll out the format.
David Scacchetti remains confident that the offer of the retailer – which operates in a traditionally recession-proof market – and its family-run model will protect it from the downturn.
“We started in 1981 in a recession and went through the early 1990s with no problems,” he said. “This one is different but we are lucky to be in this business.”
Like-for-like sales at the end of January were up 12 per cent year on year. Sales grew 8 per cent in the two weeks post-Sale. The retailer’s maternity fashion range has also been strong this year, up as much as 40 per cent, according to Scacchetti.
He added: “As a family business we are all very hands-on and I think that the passion in it is infectious. This is a great advantage at the moment: in a recession you want people who you can trust, who understand the business and know what they are doing.”
Mamas & Papas plans to open about 12 UK stores this year and is looking at further international markets to expand through franchise partners.
It will open its first two stores in Russia this year and is considering Greece and other Balkan states for further opportunities.