Flying Tiger Steps Up Global Expansion and Opens 200 New Stores
(Bloomberg) -- Flying Tiger Copenhagen, a retail chain that sells everything from teapots to games at affordable prices, is planning a significant expansion involving hundreds of new shops across the world.
Chief Executive Officer Martin Jermiin says the Danish company, which already operates almost 900 stores across 26 countries, will add more than 200 to that figure as it emerges from a two-year period of consolidation. The growth plans follow a change in ownership, after EQT AB sold Flying Tiger to Treville, which brought in new money.
Most of the new shops will be in the Middle East, and Jermiin told Bloomberg that talks are already under way to launch another 500 outlets around the world.
Flying Tiger has spent the past years trying to right itself after a period of losses that started even before the pandemic. After opening a new shop every third day in the years leading up to 2019, the company was suddenly burdened by a growing mountain of debt as sales failed to keep up with costs.
Jermiin says a turnaround plan set in motion two years ago helped Flying Tiger recover. The company has closed unprofitable stores, cut jobs and exited some countries. Still, Flying Tiger didn’t make a profit in 2020, after losing a combined 765 million kroner ($125 million) in 2018 and 2019, he said. It’s due to release its full-year results in the coming weeks.
Jermiin estimates that the pandemic alone wiped roughly a third off Flying Tiger’s revenue. “But we’re very comfortable with our performance after the reopening and we expect to be profitable during the year and probably soon.”
The Middle East expansion will use a new franchise model, the CEO said. Flying Tiger has already signed a deal in Saudi Arabia with Fawaz Alhokair, which operates Zara and GAP stores, and one in Israel with Fox Group, a local operator of Nike and Disney brands.
”We have spent about a year on this new franchise model and now we are ready to start,” the CEO said ”It’s a large expansion plan but we have learned from experience that it should be conducted in a controlled manner.”
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