Go Outdoors, the British outdoor retailer with 57 large-scale stores, is studying strategic options that could lead to a sale of at least part of its shares. Go Outdoors said it was in the initial stages of discussions with potential investors, as a means to fuel expansion. Chris Matthews, the company's chief executive, added in a statement that Go Outdoors has appointed KPMG to check out the options, but it remains unclear if the current owners may sell all or part of the company.
Go Outdoors raised its turnover by 11.5 percent to £202 million (€255.5m-$291.1m) for the fiscal year to January, and its operating profit (Ebtida) increased by 21 percent to £14 million (€17.7m-$20.2m), due to the opening of new stores, strong online sales and the development of the retailer's own bike concept.
Matthews added that the retailer has already seen huge demand for its summer equipment and clothing, which suggests a strong season ahead.
The Go Outdoors concept is based on large, out-of-town stores with a wide assortment of outdoor products, including private labels and many other affordable ranges.
As previously reported, Go Outdoors has embarked on a development program worth £10 million (€12.6m-$14.4m), which should create about 2,000 jobs. It involves the opening of six large-scale stores, three of which are already trading, meaning that the retailer should have 60 stores at the end of the year. Go Outdoors also started opening Cycle Concept areas in its stores and should have 43 of them up and running by the end of the month.
While the retailer currently doesn't have any international business, a spokeswoman said that Go Outdoors has revamped its online store and very recently started shipping bicycles outside the U.K.
Go Outdoors has been backed from the start by YFM Equity Partners and 3i invested in the retail group in 2011. YFM supported the acquisition of a Sheffield camping center in 1998 by John Graham and Paul Caplan, leading to the rise of Go Outdoors. 3i acquired an unspecified minority stake and invested £28 million (€35.4m-$40.4m) in Go Outdoors five years ago, to support an expansion plan that was meant to raise the number of stores from 30 to 70 in four years. Both investment firms declined to comment.
A former executive of Marks and Spencer and Dixons, Matthews became chief executive at Go Outdoors in May 2013.