Sportizus spreads chain of gift stores across UK

Sports and celebrity memorabilia retailer Sportizus plans a multi-million pound expansion programme to deliver 50 new stores over the next five years.

The retailer was founded in 1999 by former TV sports commentator Hamilton Bland. At the moment, Sportizus operates 13 stores in towns including Manchester, Nottingham, Cheltenham, Leicester and Bristol. Most of the shops are in the Midlands.

The retailer has appointed Birmingham property consultancy CB Hillier Parker to find city centre properties of approximately 85 sq m across the UK.

CB Hillier Parker senior surveyor Paul Rands said: 'This expansion is part of a plan that the company put in place some time ago. We are considering sites in top retail towns across the UK, initially in England.

'At the moment, Sportizus operates from a fairly even mix of shopping centres and high street stores, and is looking to maintain the balance.'

The retailer plans to open the first 10 new stores next year, and three sites are under discussion. Sportizus is considering opening a shop in London, as well as nearby towns such as Guildford and Kingston upon Thames.

When it launched in 1999, Sportizus was primarily a mail order and Internet business, operating one shop in Warwick.

Sportizus's range includes unsigned photographs at£15, and the most expensive item is a medal presented to astronaut Buzz Aldrin after his moon walk in 1969, which costs£100,000.

The retailer recently acquired a stake in autograph show Autographica.