The new owner of handmade furniture retailer Mark Elliot is preparing to press ahead with ambitious expansion plans for the chain, which could result in the number of stores doubling within months.
Private equity firm SKG, which bought Mark Elliot out of administration a month ago for an undisclosed sum, is planning to bolster the chain’s store portfolio “as quickly as possible”, according to Chris Althorp-Gormlay, managing partner at SKG.
The retailer currently has 12 stores in its portfolio, largely in East Anglia and central England.
Althorp-Gormlay said that Mark Elliot would like to grow its presence in the South of England, including a first store in London, to extend the geographic reach of the chain.
He added that some of the new stores could come from similar takeover deals, confirming that SKG is now “actively seeking acquisitions”.
Founder Mark Elliot will continue to run the chain.
Althorp-Gormlay said that while SKG wanted growth for the business, it would aim to keep it as a niche player for quality handmade products “in selected locations”.
He said: “We’re not talking about global growth, we’re talking about a niche offering to a customer that still wants a top quality offering”.
Mark Elliot, which was established in 1987, was placed into administration and KPMG was appointed at the beginning of July. It had been struggling since 2008 when it filed for a CVA with debtors.
Accounts published in December 2008 revealed that the retailer was struggling with liabilities of £2.8m.