Kurt Geiger wins new customers, will open more UK stores
Footwear retailer Kurt Geiger has ambitious plans to open more UK stores this year as the company continues to attract more new customers.
In fact, the business could open more than one store every month with sales having already recovered to 80% of pre-pandemic levels, despite footwear having been one of the hardest-hit categories during various lockdowns in 2020 and 2021.
CEO Neil Clifford told The Times that he feels “much more optimistic than I did” as physical stores continue to bounce back, online stays strong and the predicted end of the high heel hasn’t happened.
Clifford also said the firm’s charity initiatives — such as rainbow face masks and bags, with profits donated to the NHS, and discounts for NHS workers — have raised its profile.
Although profits halved to £20 million last year due to the pandemic, the Cinven-owned company donated £1.2 million to charity and will continue to donate 5% of its profits in future. Clifford said “kindness works”.
Its recent sales growth means it will now open between 13 and 15 Kurt Geiger stores this year, its highest number since 2008.
That means it joins a select band of retailers — Frasers Group being the prime example — that are very active on the directly-operated store opening front rather than shrinking their store estates.
But of course, the opening plans also reflect the ‘new normal’ and Clifford told the newspaper that the strategy is being aided by “landlords being a lot more friendly”, by falling rents and an earlier decision axe some of its 200 department store concessions. It was also helped by US sales growing and it has recently opened an LA warehouse.
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