Poundland co-founder Dave Dodd launched his latest retail chain Hub last week, with the first store opening in Telford.
The mid-market variety chain boasts a wide offer, including kitchenware, household, electrical, hardware and homewares, along with garden and leisure, sport, computer accessories, stationery, toys and confectionery. DIY and gardening equates to around 20% of the business, and includes a comprehensive hardware and tools section, plants and seeds and a large wild bird section.
The Telford store currently boasts 3,500 SKUs, and the aim is to have 6,000. In a similar concept to the Poundland stores, stock will change regularly, with customers seeing different things each time they go into a Hub outlet.
The next opening will be the 13,000sq ft flagship store in Manchester's Arndale centre, which is planned for mid-October. Mr Dodd and his business partner Barney McElholm are on target to roll out eight stores in the first year. This will be followed by 10 in the second year and 12 in the third year, equating to 30 outlets across the UK by the end of 2012. The long-term aim is to have more than 200 stores across the country.
Explaining the concept of Hub, Mr McElholm told DIY Week: "It's a middle-market retail offer. We're targeting people who have aspirations for something nicer than big-discount products but who still require value for money. Value has become very fashionable now."
Hub aims to generate around 12,000 consumers going through the door every week, and on the basis of trading from last Thursday until close of play on Sunday, the retailer is very much on target.
The 9,000sq ft Telford store was opened by GMTV's Richard Arnold and the first day's trading went very well, according to Mr McElholm.
He said: "It was our first store opening, rather than just the opening of a new store. As such, it was difficult and there were a number of challenges - IT was difficult, that was the biggest problem we had, but we got there in the end. But we're trading very well and, actually, although it's very early days we've continued trading very well. We're looking forward to opening our flagship store in Manchester."
He added: "We had lots and lots of people through the door. It was a job to keep on top of it all and I think we managed it very well, so we're very pleased."