SMF Toytown is embracing a slew of expansion opportunities across the UK, now with 29 stores to its name.
Alan explains: “Ordinarily we would look to open two, perhaps three new locations in a year but when Toys R Us went, we had so many approaches that we’ve turned down more than I can count. It’s a lovely position to be in; we can pick and choose the locations we want, and step back from others that look iffy. Now, with Poundworld ramping up store closures, more fuel will be added to the fire.”
“Ten or twenty years ago, there were shopping centres that wouldn’t even talk to us, and now they’re all over us like a rash. Opening in shopping centres increases our profile with landlords, which leads to requests to open stores in other centres. We work with Savills, which presented me with a long list of locations to look at, and we are now scheduling openings into 2019.”
The retail environment is a challenging one at present, but SMF Toytown is not only surviving – it’s thriving. The retailer will be celebrating its 40th year of business in November 2019 – no mean feat in our current business climate – and Alan is understandably proud to have his three sons working alongside him to keep the business running smoothly.
“Brian does the buying and will be well known to a lot of suppliers; Kris is in accounting and Mark is in logistics,” he says.”We continually look at what’s working and what isn’t, to stay ahead of the game. We started in 1979, and I’ve lead from day one. If you stand still people are going to overtake you, so we will always endeavour to stay one step ahead.”
To read the full exclusive interview with Alan in our September issue, please click here.