SKG Capital targets up to 10 garden centre concessions with Julian Charles following opening of Tong store

SKG Capital, the family office specialising in retail turnarounds, has announced plans to open up to 10 Julian Charles concessions in garden centres across the country over the next 12 months, following the launch of its new concession in Tong Garden Centre, West Yorkshire.

Julian Charles currently operates from 75 locations across the country, with 13 concession sites in garden centres currently. Its new concession in Tong Garden Centre opened in November last year, stocking beautifully made soft furnishings, including quality bedding, ready-made curtains, and luxury duvets.

The new 1800 square foot concession in Tong Garden Centre has its own customised stock offering and has been finished with contemporary fixtures and fittings in line with the rest of the store. As with all Julian Charles concessions, the bedding retailer is responsible for all stock, with their in-house marketing team assigned on site to help deliver sales.

The announcement signals the retailer’s intention to capitalise on the increased footfall resulting from eased pandemic restrictions, double down on physical retail locations, as well as further strengthen its relationships and partnerships in the garden retail market.

The focus on garden centre concessions follows Julian Charles’ acquisition by SKG Capital, the retail-focused family office, in June 2020. Since acquiring the Manchester-based business, SKG Capital have invested heavily into the brand’s digital offering and are now looking to expand its retail locations.

Prior to the acquisition, Julian Charles was running at a £2.1m loss. However, in the latest financial accounts, the retailer has been taken to a break-even position and continues to grow. Additionally, following the period of investment, online sales have increased by 30% year-on-year and now account for 20% of total sales.

Simon Peck, Managing Director at Julian Charles, said: “We are a fast-growing business, and are on the hunt for new garden centre partners to meet our target of opening up to 10 concessions within garden centres over the next year.

“Our recent opening at Tong Garden Centre will be the first of many. We are pursuing garden centre concessions as one of the cornerstones of our rollout strategy because we recognise the natural synergy between our own customers, products, and those of our garden centre partners.

“The customer response to our new concession in Tong has been strong, and we’re hoping to replicate the model across the UK. As a bedding and linen retailer, we have been able to deliver strong footfall through the year, and we take pride in building long-term relationships.”

Neil Taylor, partner at SKG Capital, said: “Following a great year for Julian Charles, the next 12 months will be key to our growth. Having invested heavily in our digital platform in the past year, we are now planning to increase our physical footprint on the high street, both with standalone stores and garden centre concessions like our new opening in Tong.”

Home furnishings brand Julian Charles started in 1947 as a small Lancashire textile business called Rectella Limited, growing into one of the largest manufacturers of home textiles in the UK and developing its retail arm under the Julian Charles brand.

The business trades nationally from 75 locations, including 41 leased stores and concessions in other retailers.