The Range owner Chris Dawson will continue with aggressive expansion plans for Trading Bargains, the brand he set up to sell stock bought following the collapse of MFI.
Trading Bargains was established in December, when MFI fell into administration and Dawson bought all of the retailer’s remaining stock.
The Plymouth-based entrepreneur told Retail Week that he thought there might be the opportunity to eventually ramp up the portfolio to about 150 stores.
In February Retail Week revealed Dawson had opened six stores under the fascia and was preparing to roll out more in the coming weeks.
Dawson has since taken the number of Trading Bargains stores to over 40 and is in talks for several other sites. “The MFI deal was bigger than anybody thought,” he said.
Trading Bargains is now also selling electricals stock bought when online retailer Empire Direct went into administration in February. At the time Dawson bought £29m worth of stock.
The latest stores to be added to the portfolio are in Southampton and Bradford, and are both former MFI stores, as is the majority of the Trading Bargains portfolio, although some shops are former Focus and B&Q stores. The store in Bradford covers 70,000 sq ft.
Dawson said that the majority of these stores will continue to trade until at least September but could stay open for longer. Eventually a small proportion of the stores will continue to trade under The Range fascia when the temporary leases the retailer signed for Trading Bargains expire. Some of these are as short as three months.
Dawson said he was working on a “try before you buy” basis with the stores he is trading. “Only the really good ones will be kept,” he said.
The MFI and Empire Direct stock is also being traded online.