Go Outdoors set for sale

Chris Matthews, chief executive of GO Outdoors.
Chris Matthews, chief executive of GO Outdoors.

Go Outdoors, Britain’s leading outdoor retailer, has hired accountants KPMG to explore a possible sale of the booming Sheffield-based chain - which is set to create 2,000 jobs in the next 12 months.

Chris Matthews, chief executive, said he was in the “initial stages” of discussions with potential investors in an effort to fuel expansion.
He added: “Go Outdoors has exciting plans for the future and during these times it is prudent that the company’s owners and investors explore the options available to take the brand to the next stage in its evolution.
“KPMG have been appointed to help consider these strategic options.
“It is critical to find the right investor who understands the DNA of the company and can share in everything that Go Outdoors stands for since the business was founded by John Graham and Paul Caplan.”
John Graham and Paul Caplan bought CCC - Camping and Caravanning Centre - in Sheffield in 1998.
The company is also backed by private equity groups YFM Equity Partners and 3i.
YFM backed the original management buyout in 1998, and 3i invested £28million in the company in 2011.
Today it employs 2,500 people full-time across 57 stores in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Profits have grown by 21 per cent in the last year to £14 million on sales of £202million and it is in the midst of a £10 million expansion programme that will add five megastores and hire 2,000 staff, including part-time and seasonal workers.
Mr Mathews said new stores, strong online sales and the roll-out of a ‘Go Outdoors’ in-store cycling concession had primed the company for growth.
He added: “We are currently opening five new megastores and rolling out our cycling offer across our stores which is enabling us to add 2,000 outdoor enthusiasts to our team.
“As we move into summer, we have already seen huge demand for summer camping equipment and clothing, suggesting a very successful season ahead.”
Locally, Go Outdoors has shops in Sheffield, Hathersage, Doncaster and Wakefield.
The firm’s £1m superstore opened in Leeds last month, creating 65 jobs.