Value fashion retailer M&Co has announced plans to open up to 75 new stores in the UK by 2022, after posting a healthy rise in profits for the year to 24 February 2017.
Operating profit increased by 37% year on year to £6m. EBITDA was up 16% to £11.1m.
The positive results were credited to a recent programme of store refurbishment and investments in technology and advertising campaigns.
Like-for-like sales rose 1.5% for the year. M&Co chief executive Andy McGeoch signalled the business had achieved strong ecommerce growth following investment in its digital operations.
The privately-owned Scottish retailer intends to open between 60 and 75 new UK stores before 2022, adding to the 300 it already has worldwide.
Last year the business, which sells women’s, men’s and kids’ wear, opened 14 new stores, and closed eight loss-making locations.
McGeoch said: “We’ve got the best foundations for further long-term growth that we’ve seen in many years.
“The high street is still a challenging environment, with high business rates, cost inflation and international currency fluctuations denting our buying power with suppliers.
“However, we will continue to invest in refreshing the appearance of our stores, with over half now having benefitted from refits. Furthermore we have and will continue to invest heavily in IT to help use new technologies to drive efficiency and enhance the customer experience.”
“Our core strategy of taking prime positions in market towns continues.”
McGeoch said the first half of 2017 had shown “further positive progress” in like-for-like sales.
It has opened new stores in Essex, Yorkshire and Wales so far this year, and a number of further new openings are planned before the financial year end.
“We are keen to further expand our store portfolio and are targeting 12-15 new stores per year for the next five years as there are a number of towns in which we are currently unrepresented where we believe our format would be successful.”
M&Co employs almost 3,500 staff across the UK in its stores, head office and support teams.