Michael Hobbs, chief executive of Adams Childrenswear.
Retailer Adams Childrenswear, which was bought by management from Sears two years ago, is looking at a number of options to fund its expansion plans - including flotation. Led by chief executive Michael Hobbs, the 400 strong chain has called in Arthur Andersen to help it double in size by 2005 and become the number one children's clothing retailer in the next 12 months. It is also looking at building its presence in overseas markets such as the US.

These strategic plans were revealed as the business reported a 34 per cent rise in trading profits in the year to 31 July. Profits rose from £10 million to £13.4 million, while sales were up almost 10 per cent from £197.5m to £217m. Overall, like-for-like sales increased by 5.4 per cent.

Its strong performance during the last 12 months was matched by an increase to 8.4 per cent in Adams' total market share, including concessions, of the 0-10 years clothing sector. This leaves Adams as one of the few retailers making money out of children's clothing, and puts it only a fraction behind the UK's largest children's wear retailer, Marks and Spencer, which has an 8.5 per cent market share.

In addition to sales growth in its core own-name stores, Adams' drive to distribute its branded clothes through partnerships and concessions has seen these channels account for 14 per cent of sales and 31 per cent of trading profits in the last year. There are plans in place to increase this profit mix to 50 per cent by 2005.

In addition to its presence in 76 Sainsbury's stores, Michael Hobbs said that the label is continuing to develop concessions with other retailers. "With one retailer, Littlewoods, there is an extended trial underway in 10 stores to test our ability to achieve strong returns from concessions in a smaller space."

In the last 12 months, Adams has also developed its home shopping strategy. In addition to Freemans, trading links have now been forged with Grattan and N Brown, and other partnerships are under discussion.

Michael Hobbs believes that this strategy will generate significant growth: "We have been under-represented in the home shopping market and believe that there are good opportunities for us to develop this side of our business. Early results from the Autumn/Winter collections in Freemans and N Brown are extremely encouraging. Although we are using our newly launched websites for marketing activity, there are no plans at present to sell Adams clothing on-line."

To view related research reports, please follow the links below:-

The Under Five Crowd - 2001 Report Syndicated Study Of Pre-Schoolers & Mothers

Kidtrends - Online 2001 Report