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Rejig at The Lab as founder sells up

Michael Guest, the co-founder and managing director of the branded sports fashion concept The Lab, is leaving the business after a management buyout.

Brand director Paul Groom has bought the five-store business from Guest, who will leave to focus on his consultancy business, The de-Luxe Organisation.

The Lab has four sports stores, in Chester, Kingston-upon-Thames in Surrey, Bristol and Basildon in Essex, plus a flagship fashion store called Lab Boutique in Derby.

The stores stock sports fashion brands such as Playboy, Ringspun, Boxfresh and Reebok on a unique concession-type basis. The brands select the stock to go in store and retain ownership of the product, but Lab Boutique is responsible for staffing and shopfits.

Guest said that the time was right to move on, adding: “The Lab is a new and innovative way of doing business in a predictable, homogenised world.”

Groom, who has previously worked as Fila’s UK boss and as sales director at Adidas, is recruiting to expand the management team. He said The Lab was a unique business model that allowed brands “to showcase their products in a quality multi-brand environment”.

The business appointed Microzine founder Chris Lee as brand director earlier this year, but his future at the business is unclear following his appointment at JJB Sports.

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