Furniture, homewares and DIY chain The Range has laid out plans for 200 stores as it reaches for national coverage.
Owner and managing director Chris Dawson - who is placed 260th in the Sunday Times Rich List 2010 with a fortune worth £260m, £75m more than Elton John - said the retailer was still very young and had a lot to go for.
The Range, which sells across categories including furniture, arts and crafts, camping, DIY, pets and toys, will have 50 stores trading by Christmas and expects to open “at least” eight next year. Dawson said he was planning 150 The Range stores and a further 50 potentially in another format. The retailer will open stores in Weston-super-Mare, Stevenage and Eastbourne before the end of the year.
The Range revealed its pre-tax profits nearly doubled from £10.2m to £20.3m in the year to January 31. Turnover increased 21% to £211.7m. Dawson said: “Like-for-likes are up and we’re very happy with how much they’re up. We have a lot of energy to drive this forward. I’m just getting warmed up.”
Dawson said trade since the year end was “up on last year”, adding: “We’ll get even better.”
Over the year internet sales had “increased vastly”, said Dawson. The colourful entrepreneur - who owns other businesses including a waste management firm and a shopfitting company - said The Range had benefited last year from work done in the previous year to expand its distribution capability and headquarters to “get ready for the next onslaught”.
The Range was able to grow profits by “always controlling costs”, according to Dawson. But he added that the market was “tough and very competitive”.
On his outlook for 2011 he said: “Unquestionably cut-backs will curb spending habits. It’s not going to be easy but we have every belief in what we’re doing.”