Mountain Warehouse steps up expansion

MOUNTAIN Warehouse plans to open up to 20 stores in the UK this year and ramp up its expansion in North America.

Mountain Warehouse plans to keep growing in 2016

The UK’s biggest outdoor gear specialist, which has 17 stores in Yorkshire, expects to open more outlets in the US and Canada as part of a strategy to increase its global market share.

At the end of last year, Mountain Warehouse had around 225 stores altogether, after opening 34 stores in 2015.

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Mark Neale, who founded the business in 1997, told The Sunday Telegraph that he believes the retailer can grow to 300 stores in the UK, and he plans to add 30 more stores in North America and Germany in the next couple of years.

Mr Neale told the paper: “We wanted to do it a bit below the radar because we didn’t want to join the graveyard of British companies that go over there only to come running back.”

Last month, Mountain Warehouse insisted there was plenty of life on the high street after it achieved record sales over Christmas.

The company said like-for-like sales leapt 15 per cent in the six weeks to January 3 despite the mild winter. International sales now account for more than 20 per cent of the total. Growth was boosted by new stores in Poland and Germany and the launch of direct sales into China.

Mr Neale told The Sunday Telegraph: “I think overseas sales will soon account for half of the business.”

There has been speculation that Mountain Warehouse is making plans for a stock market flotation that could value the company at around £200m. However, The Sunday Telegraph said that the current market turbulence was understood to have dampened enthusiasm for an imminent launch. The Mountain Warehouse has stores across Yorkshire, including outlets in Beverley, York, Ilkley and Harrogate.