Jul 9, 2019
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Space NK plans UK and US expansion, says online is surging

Jul 9, 2019

Space NK is planning to add to its UK and American store count in the short term with new chief executive Andy Lightfoot (who took over in June) saying he sees potential for the company to operate more than its current 69 locations in the UK and Ireland, and 41 in the US.

Space NK

New UK shops will open in key locations including Marlborough, Wiltshire; Beverley in Yorkshire; Brent Cross on the outskirts of London; and Reigate in Surrey. It will add two American stores.

The company has been adding stores for the last decade, even in the past few years when many physical chains have been shutting locations, and this has helped it achieve ongoing higher sales.

Lightfoot also told the Press Association that the company saw double-digit like-for-like sales rises in Q1 (the three months to the end of June) and that growth online was “substantially” higher.

The growth is a reflection of strength in the beauty sector and in luxury, but is also specific to the company, as it has navigated the turbulent waters of UK retail quite deftly.

That said, Lightfoot added that profits aren't growing as fast as sales (although he added that they’re “healthy”) as the company has invested in that store expansion programme.

But it hasn't only been focusing on its shops with the new senior manager, who took over from former CEO and now executive Chairman Chris Garek, said one of his first moves last month was to unify the marketing teams for stores and e-commerce that had previously been split. That's perhaps no surprise given that Lightfoot had been digital director at the company for several years.

“Whether they are looking after social, stores or online, that same person owns that entire journey - it's been a significant change to the way we work,” he said.

The 26-year-old company began in 1993 when founder Nicky Kinnaird opened its first shop in Covent Garden. Private equity company Manzanita Capital acquired control via the purchase of a 90% stake in 2007. Kinnaird stepped down in 2014 and has little involvement but remains a “distant adviser” to the business.

Lightfoot also indicated that the brand owner isn't looking to sell any time soon, despite rumours that it was looking for a purchaser last year.

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