A vintage football shirt retailer is set to move into new headquarters in Greater Manchester with the support of a £2.5million funding package from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking.
After more than a decade of growth, Classic Football Shirts has now acquired a 35,000 sq ft head office and warehouse facility in Hyde, Greater Manchester, as it looks to boost turnover beyond the £10million of the previous year.
Classic Football Shirts was founded by final-year university students Matthew Dale and Doug Bierton in 2006. The online retailer, which also has stores in Manchester and London, currently houses the world’s largest collection of retro football shirts at its head office near Manchester City Football Club’s Etihad Stadium.
It now intends to transfer its inventory of more than 500,000 shirts and other sporting memorabilia to a newly built facility in Hyde as it eyes further expansion.
The new purpose-designed facility, set to open in early 2020, will include 6,000 sq ft of office space, as well as a mezzanine level – currently under construction – that will almost double its floorplate to closer to 70,000 sq ft. After starting out as a two-man operation, the business currently employs more than 80 people.
Matthew Dale, co-founder of Classic Football Shirts, said: “The growth we’ve enjoyed in the last decade has been phenomenal and something we couldn’t have envisaged when we bought and sold our first shirt. To support the massive amounts of stock that fuel our international e-commerce business, we doubled the capacity of our current warehouse in 2014 but this move will give us much greater headroom for further growth.
“Lloyds Bank has been integral in facilitating the acquisition and, given the relationship we’ve developed with the team since switching, we’re looking forward to them being by our side as we diversify our products ranges and grow the business’s reach with sports fans around the world.”
Simon Quin, relationship director at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “We’ve pledged £1.3billion to support North West businesses like Classic Football Shirts this year as part of our plan to help Britain prosper.
“Matt and Doug are examples of true entrepreneurship, turning a cult following into an outstanding commercial proposition. As well as being the partner of choice for the world’s major football clubs and kit manufacturers, their intelligent digital marketing has put them in a position that few, if any, are likely to rival.”
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