The Hut, which last week acquired the rights to the Zavvi website, is discussing the options with landlords for creating unstaffed stores in a handful of locations. It has yet to be decided whether the shops would operate under the Zavvi or The Hut fascia.
Chief executive and founder Matthew Moulding said the shops “would be the size of a juice bar, no doors, and there would just be touch screens and a Chip and PIN reader”.
He added: “It would help brand development. The high street brings a lot of traffic online instantly.” Moulding said that the first stores are about a year away, but he believes if a trial is successful 20 shops could be rolled out.
The Hut sells 13 product categories including DVDs and lingerie, but Moulding said the offer needs to be expanded before the first set are open. “We want a broad, strong and compelling offer,” he said. Moulding wants to build up the offer to 30 categories and he said he will acquire further brands.
Alongside its e-tail operation, The Hut also runs white-label services for DSGi, Asda Direct and a raft of smaller retailers. Moulding also wants to expand this side of its business via partnerships with overseas retailers.
The Hut, which was started by Moulding in 2004, grew to a£25m business last year and expects turnover to soar to£75m in 2009. Moulding has said that his aim is to become the “next Amazon”.