Gift and gadget retailer, Gift Universe Group, is set to expand with the backing of an eight-figure funding package from HSBC UK.
The business, which employs 30 staff at its Hull distribution centre, is the UK’s fastest growing gifts and gadgets retailer and wholesaler, selling everything from drones to decanters. To meet demand from its growing customer base, the business is utilising HSBC UK’s funding to scale up the import of stock from across the world, particularly the Far East, by 20 per cent over the next 12 months.
The increased stock capacity is crucial to the Group’s multi-channel route to reach customers. Its products are sold through gift brands RED5 and Menkind, which together have 80 high street outlets nationwide including ‘pop up’ shops, plus a website. The business is also ramping up its presence on existing e-commerce platforms such as Amazon.
Paul Kraftman, Chairman and Chief Executive of Gift Universe Group, said: “The retail sector has undergone profound change since we launched the business 16 years ago. To react we’ve strived to increase not only the range of our customers but also how we reach them. We started our relationship with Simon Cook and the HSBC team after we acquired RED5, the Hull-based retailer, in 2015. With the bank’s financial backing we’re now ideally positioned to consolidate our position in the market, driving investment into new ideas and new practices.”
Simon Cook, HSBC UK’s Relationship Director for North Yorkshire and Humber, said: “It is exciting to see a retailer innovating to meet changing consumer behaviour. The products that the Group sell are carefully sourced from suppliers around the world and this expertise is reflected in the high demand from suppliers and shoppers alike. It is a pleasure to support the business as it undergoes further expansion and we look forward to seeing Paul’s team continue to grow.”
Established in 2002 by Paul Kraftman, Gift Universe employs 1,200 staff and has 80 stores across the UK. The business also wholesales to national retail chains such as John Lewis, Boots, Argos, Debenhams and Waterstones. In 2017 the Surrey-headquartered Group enjoyed sales worth £66m.