Lifestyle retailer Joules has taken a stake in sports heritage brand Lions Rampant to help it open its first standalone store and ramp up its wholesale business.
Lions Rampant, which has 16 UK stockists including indies and department stores such as Bentalls, will open its first shop in March in an undisclosed location and will add up to 40 stockists in the next 12 months.
Founder Richard Hurtley said he was scouting for suitable sites in market and university towns in the south of England, and will open three in the next year. He hopes to have opened more than 10 stores in the next three years.
The brand will also use the undisclosed investment from Joules to ramp up its wholesale presence. It is targeting higher-end indies, multiples and department stores. The brand is also considering expanding its wholesale business into Europe in the next year.
Lions Rampant will also relaunch its website, which is already transactional, next year with a greater focus on interactive and lifestyle content.
Hurtley said Lions Rampant would benefit from back-office synergies with Joules, although he stressed they would remain autonomous businesses. He added: “We are a separate entity, but we will work together if we can use our size to get a better deal, or Joules can help us get a foot in the door.”
Hurtley, who conceived the idea for the brand while studying at Exeter University, launched Lions Rampant in 2007 with what has become the brand’s best-known product, its stripy socks. It has since expanded its range to include hoodies, T-shirts and other gymwear and sportswear. It is planning to introduce technical wear for spring 11, as well as expand its knitwear and outerwear for autumn 11.