Mountain Warehouse is accelerating its plans for new store openings, with a program to open another 40 doors in the current fiscal year. It opened 25 in the year to Feb. 25, ending the period with nearly 300 stores in seven countries, including 72 shops outside of the U.K.
The U.K.-based outdoor retailer, which focuses on value for money with private label products, saw its sales jump by 22 percent to £225.3 million (€257.2m-$300.0m) for the past fiscal year, with a comparable store sales increase of 14 percent. Its Ebitda climbed by 30.4 percent to £32.6 million (€37.2m-$43.4m) and its pre-tax profit reached £26.6 million (€30.4m-$35.4m), up by 35.6 percent.
The results contrast sharply with unfavorable reports about some other British retailers in recent weeks. Mountain Warehouse said that they were boosted by growing online sales, which jumped by 32 percent to make up a quarter of its revenues, as well as its expanding international footprint.
Since the end of the fiscal year, Mountain Warehouse has opened its first stores in the Netherlands and in New Zealand, widening its reach to nine countries. The first Dutch store is on one of the busiest shopping streets in Leiden, while the New Zealand store is in Queenstown. The Czech Republic should be next.
With stores in Ireland, Germany, Austria, Poland, the U.S. and Canada, Mountain Warehouse's international sales made up nearly 30 percent of its turnover for the last financial year. Its international sales are set to increase further in the current fiscal year, as the retailer said that about half of the 40 openings planned for this year would take place outside of the U.K.
Mountain Warehouse has budgeted over £10 million to expand the business this year. The company says that the store openings in the last fiscal year created 300 jobs and that another 450 should be added with the retail program this year. The group previously said that it saw scope for Mountain Warehouse to expand to 300 stores in the U.K., and at least the same number in foreign markets.
The outdoor retailer has also continued to diversify, as part of its efforts to weather-proof the business. It has finished bringing the Zakti sportswear brand into all Mountain Warehouse stores. Neon Sheep, another store concept focusing on quirky small gifts, was launched last year. It has just three stores so far but another eight are in the works.
Established by Mark Neale in 1997, Mountain Warehouse was bought out by its management in 2013. Neale studied an initial public offering that was projected to value the company at £200 million (€228.3m-$266.3m) but he ditched the plans in October 2016. This came after the uncertainties around Brexit caused market jitters, but Neale said at the time that he had never been fully convinced that this was the right option, and the company has managed to finance its own expansion.