Womenswear sports specialist Sweaty Betty is focusing on a multichannel push for growth, in preference to store expansion.
Co-founder and managing director Simon Hill-Norton said multi-channel was the way to “bring future growth” to the 25-store chain, although he will still look at expanding the store estate as opportunities arise.
He said: “We want to make existing stores work harder, with great product. The world has changed and a big roll-out is just not the thing for us; there are more channels to look at.”
Sweaty Betty will relaunch its website in September and push ahead with its direct mail offer. This year it increased its catalogue mail out by 50% to 300,000 copies.
Hill-Norton said the retailer had been showing positive like-for-like sales growth since June last year, following a difficult trading period following the Lehman Brothers collapse in October 2008.
“Trade was disgusting for nine months,” he said.
He added that one of the successes of the brand had been the way in which it had built a community both online and in its stores. Each of its stores runs free fitness clubs for customers, offering training in pilates, yoga classes and running activities.
The retailer has also been running “get fit for free” videos on its website, for which “thousands” have signed up, allowing people to follow the in-store classes online from their homes.