BOUX Avenue, the boutique lingerie brand owned by investor and entrepreneur Theo Paphitis, is further expanding into Yorkshire with the opening of a store in Leeds, its 18th in the UK.
The store, measuring 3,650 sq ft, is due to open in the White Rose Shopping Centre on April 23, creating nearly 25 new jobs. Mr Paphitis, formerly of television’s Dragons’ Den, told the Yorkshire Post that a second store in Leeds is also on the agenda, with the city centre in mind as a possible location. He said: “Leeds has always been in our top ten store openings except it’s number 18 because it’s about getting the right site and, even in what we call difficult retail times, the right retail sites are much sought after at the right rents, and that’s why it’s taken us so long to get to Leeds – better late than never.”
Boux Avenue was not able to find “the right site at the right rent” in Leeds’ newly opened Trinity Leeds shopping centre, said Mr Paphitis.
He described Leeds as “a fantastic city”, adding: “Apart from it being one of the major cities in the UK, it’s got some of the best demographics of the UK and that’s exactly where our brand sits.”
Boux Avenue, which already has stores in Hull and Sheffield, recorded an £8m loss in its first year of operation, the year ending March 2012, with sales of £6.9m. Mr Paphitis said the business is on track to turn over a profit in 2015.
Boux Avenue, which makes lingerie, swimwear, nightwear and accessories for women, also has stores internationally.
Mr Paphitis said that the UK’s retail sector is not going to improve in the short term and businesses must be “forward thinking”.
He said that retailers need to give under-pressure consumers a reason to shop with them, adding that running a retail business “with a rear view mirror of experience or reputation” no longer works.
The landscape of “the way we do business, the way that we interact” is changing incredibly fast.
Mr Paphitis said customers of Boux Avenue can buy its products in “fantastic, opulent surroundings”. “It’s about you. It’s about no longer having to buy your lingerie with the cooked chicken, the coleslaw, and put into a plastic bag.”
Harlan Pollitt, portfolio manager for Land Securities, which owns and manages White Rose, said: “Boux Avenue is a perfect fit for us and will complement our strong fashion offer, which has recently seen the arrival of SuperDry and Office and the quadrupling in size of New Look.”