Hot 100 2012 – 17: Go Outdoors

The basics

Company name: Go Outdoors
What they do: Outdoor equipment retailer
Headquarters: Sheffield
The boss: John Graham

The financials

Latest turnover (£,000): 115,238
Four-year compound sales growth (%): 54
Latest Ebitda (£,000): 9,158

The details

Camping store Blacks fell into receivership last year, and part of the explanation must be the pummelling they took from rival Go Outdoors.

Founded in the 1970s as Sheffield’s Caravan & Camping Centre, the firm really took off following a buyout and rebranding by store manager and climbing fanatic John Graham in 1998. Graham set about building Go Outdoors into a sizeable chain, now 36 strong, with a new store opening every month.

How has he beaten Blacks? “We are a destination retailer often in out of town locations,” he tell us. “That means we can give customers massive choice and value in an invigorating retail environment. It’s a good combination.”

He’s also cracked online sales. “Our online presence is not just about sales. It’s a massive opportunity for us to grow a thriving online community. We use social media to connect and encourage feedback from customers. We have hundreds of customer product reviews. And we produce how to guides and content that inspires our customers’ outdoor adventures.”

3i took a stake recently, and the cash and expertise they bring will only improve prospects, says Graham.

The Hot 100 2012 is brought to you by Investec, Jordans, Cass Business School and Your Business Your Future.

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