Belfast Telegraph

Stationer Smiggle adds shops in Newry and Belfast

By John Mulgrew

Australian stationery company Smiggle is opening two Northern Ireland stores - including one in Belfast city centre - in a move that will create around 20 jobs.

The firm arrived in the UK in February 2014 and has opened in more than 100 locations to take its worldwide portfolio to 300.

After opening its first Northern Ireland store in Londonderry's Foyleside Shopping Centre, it will launch a new location at The Quays in Newry on October 20.

And around eight jobs will be created when it opens at Castle Lane in Belfast on November 3.

Smiggle opened two stores in the Republic in May, and expects to be operating between 15 and 20 within three years.

The latest financial results for Smiggle's parent company, Premier Investments Limited, showed that the brand achieved global sales of $238.9m AUD (£140.35m) in the previous financial year.

Premier Retail chief executive Mark McInnes welcomed the expansion.

"Smiggle has become a truly unique, highly profitable global brand, and is quickly being recognised as a new and leading retail concept in all of its new markets," he said.

"We are very excited to have a pipeline of an additional 100 to 120 new stores in existing markets over the next two years, a rapidly growing Smiggle online business in both the UK and Australia, and today's announcement of the opening of our first stores in Continental Europe (in 2018).

"We continue to investigate high-value countries of size and scale."

Smiggle has opened 38 UK stores in the past year, including on London's King's Road, at Liverpool One and on Princes Street in Edinburgh

It previously revealed more than 60% of its sales were from outside Australia, with the UK now its largest market.

Founded as a single shop in Melbourne in 2003, the firm has expanded and also has branches in New Zealand and Singapore.

Its UK arm reported sales of £29m last year and recorded a £3.8m pre-tax profit, according to accounts filed at Companies House.

Belfast Telegraph