JD Outdoors, the name behind iconic brands such as GO Outdoors, Blacks and Millets, is bucking the gloomy trend seen elsewhere in retail, with the opening of over a dozen new stores by the end of the summer. It comes amid a huge spike in demand for outdoor products, as Britain spends more time outside in the UK and Europe.
Adding nearly half a million square feet of retail space and creating over 400 jobs already this year, including new premises in Bangor, Swindon, Newcastle, Bury and Derby, the retailer is offering more customers than ever the largest selection of outdoor equipment and apparel under the convenience of one roof.
Activities including camping, hiking, cycling, and fishing have seen huge increases in demand for related equipment since pre-pandemic times. Traffic on the GO Outdoors website for “camping” so far this year is up +44% vs 2019, alongside “walking” (+69%), “cycling” (+21%) and “fishing” (+72%).
Carly Czuba, Marketing Director of JD Outdoors, commented on the retailer’s recent growth: “We are absolutely delighted with the success of the new stores, and we’re not done yet.
“Each store has proven hugely popular in its respective community, with crowds queuing in their hundreds to celebrate the openings and meet a range of outdoor enthusiasts. We invited our brand ambassadors David Seaman, Helen Skelton, and Julia Bradbury to open the stores, and share tales of their epic outdoor experiences with our customers. You could feel the buzz at each opening event – customers in Newcastle even camped overnight!”
She added: “Our GO Outdoors members club has grown phenomenally, with the stores significantly contributing towards the total registration and is now the largest outdoor club in Europe.
“From investing in a new pair of hiking boots, to taking the plunge and going on their first family camping trip, our customers are showing a real appetite to get outdoors this summer – and we’re here with all the advice and inspiration to help them get out and do that.”
Mrs Lever, a customer who recently visited Derby’s new GO Outdoors store, said: “We’ve been spending more time outdoors as a family since the pandemic, going on staycations and camping – which was something we didn’t do much previously. The kids love taking an interest in the camping and outdoor gear whilst shopping in the new store, and they always find something new to take home!”
Lee Bagnall, CEO of JD Outdoors, said: “I am delighted that our stores and team continue to grow and to inspire and equip thousands of people to enjoy the Great British outdoors and National Parks.
“Our outdoor businesses had a much-improved year with an elevated demand for holidays in the UK and a general recognition of the physical and mental health benefits of spending time outdoors combining to drive a strong demand for outdoor living and cycling categories in particular.
“The new GO Outdoors stores now include recently acquired specialist concessions, such as equestrian, angling and bike stores, to appeal to this surging interest in outdoor activities.”
He went on to say: “Our face-to-face conversations with customers allow us to provide the unbeatable service that we pride ourselves on, and to put the customer at the heart of everything we do. That’s why we’re helping to secure the future of physical, brick-and-mortar stores, and is what has enabled us to secure and create a total of over 400 new job roles across the UK so far this year.”
GO Outdoors is set to open three more new stores in Yorkshire, Cornwall and Sheffield alongside investing in new store formats in a further three during the rest of 2022.