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Mountain Warehouse to ramp up expansion

Mountain Warehouse plans to open up to 20 stores in the UK this year and ramp up its expansion in North America as it mulls a stock market flotation.

Mountain Warehouse

The outdoor clothing and equipment retailer has 226 stores, of which 191 are in the UK - where it plans to continue growing its network. The chain’s founder, Mark Neale, has said he believes the retailer’s UK store count could reach up to 300.

International expansion is also a focus for the business over the next couple of years, with another 30 stores planned in the US, Canada and Germany.

Overseas revenue currently accounts for 20% of the total, but this is expected to reach 50% as part of a strategy to increase its global market share.

The UK remains the company’s largest market, followed by North America (23 stores), Poland (10), Ireland (three) and Germany (two). It also began selling in China in November, 2015, through Alibaba-owned shopping platform Tmall.

As previously reported, the retailer is considering a stock market float that could value the company at more than £200m. In January, Neale, who owns 85% of the company, hired investment bank Rothschild to advise on fundraising options, which could include an IPO. The remaining 15% is owned by 20 senior managers.

Sales at Mountain Warehouse climbed 28.6% in the six weeks ending January 3, with like-for-like sales up 14.7% during the period.

A roll out of units for Neale’s activewear chain Zakti is also expected to continue, with a third store in Reigate slated for the coming months, adding to two store launches in London in November.

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