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Retail Spotlight: Smiggle


Posted At: 03 November 2014 00:38 AM
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Smiggle is an Australian based stationery retailer currently selling in over 1000 stores across Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and South Africa. The retailer’s efforts are concentrated on creating fun kids’ stationery with an average target market of ages 6-14 years with great “pocket money prices” (average selling price is £3.50). However, the fun and vibrant stationery retailer is proving popular with all ages and Managing Director of the group John Cheston claims that, really, the brand is suitable for anyone who “has the zest for life, enjoys fun and humour and wants to stand out.”

The retailer’s aim for the next 12 months is to work on its expansion into the UK including a fully integrated e-commerce website and commencing a five-year store expansion programme. Smiggle is sure that its focus on colour, fun, in-store interaction and new products every week will ensure the brand does extremely well in the UK. Smiggle is anticipating its well planned and executed five year plan will lead to success, aided by the UK market being very similar to the Australian market and the UK’s online market being more mature.

For the brand’s official timeline, see below.

Smiggle Storefront

On 14th October 2014 - Smiggle joined intu Bromley as part of the centre’s improvement programme. The retailer has completed a deal on a unit adjacent to H&M, as it establishes itself within the UK retail market.

8th October 2014 - Smiggle makes plans to launch its UK transactional website in January 2015. Smiggle's UK web presence currently consists of a microsite on the retailer’s Australian website, but now the stationer is planning to roll out a standalone website. The Managing Director of Smiggle predicts that the company’s online sales could be higher in the UK due to a more mature online market.

Additionally, Smiggle plans to roll out up to 300 stores in the UK. There were plans for 30 stores by July 2015, 50 by December 2015 and an additional 50 each year in subsequent years. Smiggle plans to focus on clusters of stores and is currently in the process of building up clusters in the Southeast, but has plans to build a cluster of stores around Manchester in 2015.

6th August 2014 - Smiggle plans to open 10 new stores before Christmas in high profile locations including the Bullring, Westfield London and Meadowhall.

30th April 2014 - Smiggle signed a deal to open one of its first shops outside London, at The Friary Centre in Guildford, as part of its plans to open 200 stores nationwide.

9th April 2014 - Smiggle signed to open a store at Crawley's County Mall, close to WH Smith and opposite Primark. The new store was part of Smiggle’s expansion in the UK.

2nd April 2014 - Smiggle opened its first store outside London at Brighton's Churchill Square.

20th February 2014 - Smiggle opened its first UK store at Westfield Stratford.

24th January 2014 - Smiggle announces its plan to open its first store in February 2014, as part of plans to open 20 stores this year.

4th October 2013 - Smiggle announced plans to open 200 to 250 stores in the UK within the next four to five years. Smiggle group general manager John Cheston said the UK will "unquestionably" be the specialist’s biggest market globally and is in the midst of hiring a UK team.

So, the question is how is a retailer selling stationery doing so well, less than a year after breaking into the UK market? As mentioned above, a well planned and implemented strategy is behind this retailer along with a very profitable base back in Australia, having been acquired in 2007 by an Australasian fashion company called The Just Group.

Additionally, in an interview with the Managing Director, John Cheston, he claims that Smiggle do not compromise. Whether it be on the shopping centre, high street, the size of the unit and the brands adjacent to the unit, Smiggle will only open stores it feels can 100% bring return on investment and continue to go on and be profitable.

Smiggle also sounds like it has done its target market research into the UK and has found that the potential market has many similarities to the Australian market where it is already very profitable, with every one of their stores making profit.

Its pricing strategy also matches its target market, a consideration that many of its competitors will not have considered. With an average selling price of £3.50, this reflects the pocket money its target market may receive from parents and guardians.

And finally, Smiggle’s in-store and on-line convergence concept is spot-on in terms of the current retail market. At FSP we regularly comment on the importance of creating an experience for customers. Smiggle does just this; from the interaction of its staff to its points of sale with customers, whilst the experience isreflected in its website games and fun activity functionalities. The retailer fully integrates its brand values and communicates this so effectively, giving consumers a consistent positive experience.

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The opinions expressed herein are the personal opinion of the author and are not intended as statements of fact and do not represent the view of SnapShop or Pragma in any way.


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