Silverscreen bags growth cash

Silverscreen has secured a£20 million investment from private equity giant Apax, giving the green light to nationwide expansion.

DVD specialist Silverscreen, chaired by former New Look joint managing director Gavin Aldred, plans to open 180 stores over the next three years.

The aim is for Silverscreen to grow its market share to 15 per cent, following the store roll-out. At present, the retailer has a share of slightly less than 0.5 per cent from six stores.

Silverscreen joint chief executive officer Sebastian James said: 'It's a fast-growing market. There is still a long way to go and we think there will be two or three years' more growth before it starts to slow.'

Silverscreen will increase its average store size by approximately 25 per cent, from 2,000 sq ft (185 sq m) to 2,500 sq ft (230 sq m).

Stores in prime locations, such as shopping centres and high streets, are being sought.

Apax director Alex Fortescue said: 'The performance of the first six stores has proven the concept of speciality DVD retailing.' Apax injected£3.3 million in a first round of investment last year.

The DVD market is worth just over£2 billion and is expected to grow to£2.6 billion by the end of this year.

The retailer first opened at Lakeside in Kent in August. Shops followed at Bluewater, Milton Keynes, Basingstoke, Kingston-upon-Thames and Peterborough.