Jeroboams expansion continues apace
Jeroboams is gearing up to open its eighth London store, the first under the tenure of chief executive Hugh Sturges, as the company continues on its expansion trail.
It will be on Kensington High Street, a site that “ticked more boxes than it didn’t”.
Sturges told DRN he aims for a total of 10 to 12 stores and hopes to secure number nine by the end of 2018.
He said: “I don’t want it to become a big chain and we need to find the stores that are right for the local community they are in.
“It is a fairly specific community we are looking for – mostly residential, probably with an international mix of people and ideally a village-feel, although that is not essential, it would just be nice to have.
“If an area has a good independent wine merchant already then I am not confident or arrogant enough to go head to head. But if there is a supermarket or chain such as Majestic then we think we can offer something that is different and complementary, so we could go up against them. There are enough spaces around, but we are taking our time to get it right.”
He said the team had looked at areas such as Richmond, Barnes and Wimbledon, but had been unable to find the right location within these districts.
Sturges said of the Kensington site: “We believe it’s an up-and-coming area. We are going into a development that was an old parade of shops and we have gone in there early.
“The demographics of the area are perfect for us and it’s not blessed with a wine merchant already. There is residential wealth, and if we can also provide our cellar services there.
“It will also be our first venture into a completely new store. All of the others have
been refits of existing businesses. So it’s a shell at the moment but we have the look and feel all mapped out and we are confident it will open by March 1.”
The store comprises 900sq ft on the ground floor and the same amount of space on the basement level. The plan is to include a fine wine and tasting area, as well as mobile central drinking tables.
Once open the store will offer tasting events every Friday and Saturday with daily tastings over the launch period.
“All of our stores are different but the closest match – in terms of its clientele – is probably Elizabeth Street [Belgravia]. It will have slightly less of a fine wine focus than Walton Street [Knightsbridge] but more than Heath Street [Hampstead].
“It’s not a heavy footfall area but our model suits that to some extent and we believe footfall will increase when more units in the development are filled.”
Sturges said that the retail side of the business is doing very well. “The retail and account combination is working for us and no one else is doing it the same way we are.”
For the future Jeroboams hopes to develop a full catering brand, stemming from its Mr Christian’s deli business, with the aim of providing food and wine for parties and events.
The company’s private cellar storage concept for its customers is also set to go live very soon, and Sturges said: “Customer interest is very high and I am quite optimistic but we absolutely must get it right.”