Mountain Warehouse plans to open more stores after '˜cracking Christmas trading'

MOUNTAIN Warehouse is seeking five sites for new stores in Yorkshire after reporting record Christmas trading.

Mountain Warehouse has reported strong Christmas trading
Mountain Warehouse has reported strong Christmas trading

The group, which specialises in selling outdoor clothing and equipment, revealed that sales rose by 38.2 per cent in the six weeks to December 31.

The company said that like-for-like sales over the festive trading period rose by 33.1 per cent with online revenue increasing by 76.6 per cent.

The company served 1.5 million customers during the six week festive period with best sellers including more than 250,000 pairs of socks, 250,000 pairs of gloves, 150,000 padded jackets and 80,000 snow boots.

Mountain Warehouse, which started with a single store in December 1997, opened more than 30 branches in 2017 and plans to open a similar number this year, creating more than 300 jobs. It now has more than 270 stores, with a footprint in seven countries.

Yorkshire has been a significant area of growth in recent years. The group already has stores in places like Beverley, Ilkley, Northallerton, Ripon, Whitby, Harrogate, Scarborough and Skipton.

Chief executive Mark Neale said many people did not want to go to out of town shopping centres and they regarded trips to towns such as Ilkley and Whitby as an activity in its own right.

He said a new store in Sheffield at St James Retail Park - the Norton College redevelopment - is likely to open in September.

A store which opened in the Cortonwood Retail Park in Barnsley in August is also trading really well, Mr Neal added.

He said the company was still seeking suitable locations for five more stores in Yorkshire.

Mountain Warehouse is looking for sites in Helmsley, Thirsk, Leeds, Halifax and “other vibrant towns”, he said.

He said; “We’re quite selective. I’m looking for a shop that’s not just going to be great for this year but in five years’ time.”

“There are great health benefits, for both physical and mental health, from the great outdoors, particularly in Yorkshire.”

Recent UK openings have also included Oxford city centre and Southwold in Suffolk, while the business also opened stores in Krakow and Poznan in Poland, Winnipeg in Canada and Limerick in Ireland. The business is eyeing two new markets – Holland and the Czech Republic – with store openings expected in the first quarter of 2018.

Mr Neale said: “We had a cracking Christmas with remarkable growth.”

A business which equips customers to brave the elements will always benefit when it snows, according to Mr Neale.

He added: “The December cold snap was a bit of an early Christmas present for us.

“Another was Black Friday, with sales reaching £2m in a single day alone for the first time in our history.”