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Skopes to open 15 new stores following HSBC £6m funding package

Tom Bottomley
21 November 2019

Leeds-based menswear retailer Skopes is set to significantly expand its high UK high street presence by opening 15 new stores over the next 2-3 years, after securing a £6m funding package from HSBC UK.

The menswear brand, which celebrated its 70th anniversary last year with a re-branding a new store concept design, currently has three standalone stores at Westfield in London, Meadowhall in Sheffield and Junction 32 in Castleford, as well as multiple department store concessions.

Simon Cope, owner and managing director of Skopes, says: “2018 was a big year for us. Seventy years after the business was founded by my grandfather, Sydney Cope, we completely re-branded and the energy this brought propelled our growth forward.

“We are now on a big expansion plan and we are in deep negotiations with many landlords, but we are being very selective on where and when we open. The aim is to make the sites profitable very quickly.”

While cultivating a strong digital following is key for Skopes, Cope believes bricks and mortar stores still have a hugely relevant role in the retail landscape. He adds: “In the current retail climate, a lot of brands and retailers are playing safe and ducking for cover, but we’re not. We are actually seeing greater opportunities. We have a clear vision as to how retail is going in the next five years, and we’re putting down our flag.”

This rapid expansion will support the creation of 200 new jobs, across retail, warehouse and office roles – the biggest growth phase the company has seen since its inception in 1948. Following the expansion, the total workforce of the business will exceed 500.

The £6m funding package from HSBC UK will also enable the family-run business to strengthen its import channels from China, Bangladesh and Europe. Overall, expansion plans are expected to increase turnover from £30m to around £60-£70m over the next three to five years.

The new Skopes deal has been funded as part of HSBC UK’s £14 billion SME fund, with £1.05 billion dedicated to helping Yorkshire businesses realise their ambitions for growth.

Helen Phillips, relationship director for HSBC UK, North & West Yorkshire, comments: “We’re delighted to be supporting a fantastic Yorkshire business in such a large stage of development. The opening of more UK stores shows the ambition of Skopes to further establish itself as a recognised household name.”

James Sawley, HSBC UK’s head of retail, adds: “Skopes has proven itself as an agile, ambitious and extremely relevant brand in a consumer market that can often be challenging and unpredictable.

“Its approach to having a prominent online and high street presence is commendable and reassuring for other retailers. We’re confident that Skopes can deliver a unique shopping experience for thousands of people across the UK.”

Simon Cope believes the new HSBC UK funding will enable Skopes to create stores that respond to consumer demand and trends, which he says is “imperative if we are to remain relevant and attractive to our ever-changing market.”

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