Smallbone keen to expand ahead of its flotation

Posh furniture retailer Smallbone is to embark on a number of store openings, as it announced its intention to float.

The company, which makes bespoke kitchens, bedrooms and bathroom furniture, has eight showrooms in the UK and nine in the US. It plans to open a further four in each market over the next 18 months.

The company hopes to list on AIM and is looking to raise£2.5 million from the flotation. About 25 per cent of the existing shares will also be placed on the market.

The group's two key businesses are the Smallbone of Devizes UK kitchen operation and the US-based Paris Ceramics.

Founder and chief executive Charlie Smallbone, who sold the company in 1986 to Williams Holdings but bought it back in July last year, plans to rebrand the US operation as Smallbone.

The retailer expects to achieve sales of more than£22 million in the year to December.

Analysts at Equity Growth Research said Smallbone is set to benefit from the high profile accorded by the media, especially TV, to the food and kitchen markets.

'The potential to grow the brand, both in the UK and the US, on the back of this celebrity-driven trend, is self-evident.'