It might not be the king of the jungle (yet) but Denmark-based home-wares retailer Tiger Stores is rapidly expanding its footprint around the globe and bringing greater professionalism to the discount end of the market.
Speaking to Retail Insider recently Lennart Lajboschitz, founder of Tiger Stores, suggested: “When we started in 2005 I thought the average discount store was rubbish. There was just so much rubbish around then but customers now demand better quality from the discounters. They can see that our concept works and they’ve wanted to copy it.”
The concept involves offering a constantly changing range – 300 new products hit the shelves each month – of unique items at very competitive prices that are sold in smart outlets. Lajboschitz says the idea has been to take products away from being functional to more emotional so a plain mug will have a quirky design imprinted on it and it might be sold alongside a matching tea cosy and other such complementary items.
Whereas the business was predominantly about adding designs to base products the volume of goods now being sold have enabled it to increasingly create the base products thereby adding to the unique nature of the goods. “We want to make the company as relevant and unique as possible,” he says.
The concept certainly seems to be working as Lajboschitz says a new shop is opening every three days in Europe and others are springing up in Japan where units double the European average of 250 sq m achieve four times the sales levels.
In the UK the 20-plus London stores have recently been joined by the first unit in the Midlands and Wales is to follow. “We will be developing new stores quite quickly and in a few years’ time we could have a couple of hundred stores,” reveals Lajboschitz.
As with some of the other countries in which it operates Tiger Stores works with a joint-venture partner on a 50:50 ownership basis in the UK. These partners are not necessarily experienced retailers. “We choose unusual partners, making partnerships with people who share our values and who we believe have the potential to take things forward,” he explains.
The stores tend to be in major cities as Lajboschitz says the cultural aspect of the people there sits well with Tiger’s products. “In a minor city, if you have tattoos and piercing then nobody plays with you whereas if you have them in a city then you will have friends. You need to be different to stand out. We believe the more urban then the more demand there is for emotional products. In the provinces it is more about functional goods,” he explains.
Lajboschitz also hinted at the prospect of selling goods online, which at the moment does not happen in any of the countries in which it has shops. “We tested online in Denmark but with our low prices and high volumes (the average basket price in UK is only £5) the freight costs were 100% of the sale value. But it could be done in other countries.”