Footasylum looks to step up in market with new stores

Adidas is one of many brands stocked by Footasylum
Adidas is one of many brands stocked by Footasylum
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Sports retailer Footasylum has unveiled plans to float on the London Stock Exchange in a move that could value the firm at about £150 million.

The company, which was established in 2005 by the founders of JD Sports, David Makin and John Wardle, is expected to begin trading on London’s junior Alternative Investment Market (Aim) in November and will plough the money raised into expansion.

The 60-store firm is looking to open up to ten outlets a year with a target of “at least” 150. North of the Border it currently has four branches around Glasgow and one in Dundee.

Footasylum’s products are aimed at a core base of 16 to 24-year-old “fashion conscious customers”, with the company dividing its shoppers into six core “tribes”. Each tribe, Footasylum said, has a “nuanced demographic and regional profile”.

Chief executive Clare Nesbitt said: “We are thrilled to be announcing our intention to list on Aim. This is a logical next step in Footasylum’s upward trajectory as we seek to build on our exciting product-led, multi-channel expansion strategy.

“We pride ourselves on being a dynamic, adaptive and fast-moving business with a strong competitive position, a great stable of third party and own brands, and a disciplined approach to delivering sustainable growth.

“We see substantial opportunities ahead across our retail, online and wholesales channels, and believe that we have the people, products and strategy to realise them.”

Last year, the firm raked in revenues of about £147m and booked an operating profit of £11.2m. Menswear accounted for 71 per cent in the period compared with 8 per cent for womenswear and 18.5 per cent for childrenswear.

The group sells around 300 brands across a typical year, combining globally established names such as Nike and Adidas, with smaller, up-and-coming brands such as Gym King, as well its own, in-house labels.

In its “intention to float” document yesterday, the firm told potential investors: “The directors believe that the company’s growing scale and expertise, in addition to its multi-channel approach, has improved its relationships with brand ­suppliers over time as a valued distribution channel.

“The company has levered in-house design expertise to curate a stable of own brands. These brands capitalise on upcoming trends in markets which the directors believe are underserved by products from existing third party brand relationships.”

The group said that new stores typically take six to eight weeks to fit out, with all store design undertaken in-house by a central design team “to ensure consistency of brand messaging and to manage costs”.

Design briefs are aimed at “creating an environment designed to appeal to the company’s core, trend-following target audience,” it added.

The firm noted that e-commerce had become an “increasingly prominent transactional channel” and was now the company’s fastest growing route to market.

In the 2017 financial year, online revenue represented 29 per cent of overall sales, up from 22 per cent two years earlier. It operates dedicated sites for each of its fascias.