Fashion and lifestyle retailer Oliver Bonas will open a store in Brighton in August and is eyeing two further London sites.
However, founder and managing director Oliver Tress said it was unlikely the company would achieve its goal of opening up to 10 UK stores this year: “It doesn’t look like it will be as many as that.”
He confirmed Oliver Bonas was “in conversation” about opening a store in Oxford and said two new stores in London “look likely to happen”.
Tress said the focus of this year is on becoming omnichannel, which will include trialing the use of tablets for customer service, online orders and taking in-store payments.
“We know our customers are coming to stores – we want them to think of Oliver Bonas online as well,” he explained. “[The tablets] will bring the website to the forefront of their minds.”
The bijou Brighton store – measuring 1,150 sq ft over two floors – will be at 15 Bond Street in North Laine, the city’s shopping and residential district.
On his plans to open stores outside of the UK next year, Tress said: “That hasn’t moved on since [Drapers reported it in] January. I’d love to, but if we did anything it would be online. If we opened overseas it would probably be because a partner had come to us.”
He suggested international markets may be tested through a trial in a Scandinavian country, such as Sweden, but emphasised this was still just an idea: “Sweden buys a lot online and has a low returns rate, and we already have a Swedish speaker in our customer services team. It would be a point of entry into Nordic markets.”
While furniture is still a big seller, Tress said he hoped the fashion side of the business would “blossom” over the next two to three years: “I think we’ll make a name for ourselves.”