Gymshark to open first ever physical store on Regent Street – Evening Standard

The fitness brand, founded by 29-year-old Ben Francis from his parents’ house back in 2012, has been valued at over £1 billion and is reportedly considering a London IPO
Ben Francis on Regent Street, London, after signing the deal
ymshark is to launch its first ever bricks-and-mortar store on Regent Street in the latest high profile signing for vacated space on London‘s prime shopping streets.
The athleisure brand, founded by 29-year-old Ben Francis from his parentshouse back in 2012, is an online hit recently valued at over £1 billion.
Sales jumped more than 50% to over £400 million in the company‘s financial year to July. This year the Solihull-based company launched a US office in Denver, and Francis is reportedly currently in talks with bankers and institutional investors over a potential London listing.
Today Gymshark revealed it is to open it’s first “IRL location” in an 18,000 square foot space at 165 Regent Street next summer.
The new store, rented on a 10-year lease from The Crown Estate, will also host events and “community hangouts”, and have workout studios and classes on-site.
The opening is set to create over 100 jobs.
Francis told the Standard the company had been “thinking about how Gymshark could exist offline for a while”, and said: “We knew if we were going to do this, it would have to be somewhere iconic and it doesn’t get much more iconic than Regent Street.”
The entrepreneur started out making hoodies on his sewing machine at home, while working shifts at Pizza Hut and creating the first iteration of the Gymshark website.
Francis is still the majority owner of Gymshark, while US private equity firm General Atlantic holds a 21% stake as of last year. He is now back at the helm of his company after a multi-year period ceding the CEO role to experienced executive Steve Hewitt, during which the brand grew quickly.
A Gymshark spokesperson today declined to comment further on any potential IPO plans. Last month the company told Sky: “We regularly speak to financial institutions to ensure we are connected to the business world and we continue to learn.
“Any recent conversations we have had have been about introducing these organisations to Gymshark and our journey so far.”
The Regent Street store signing announcement comes after the investment arm of Ingka Group, behind Ikea UK & Ireland, signed a £378 million deal to open an Ikea store on part of the former Topshop flagship site on London’s Oxford Street.
The move will see meatballs, sofas, lamp shades and other goods available moments from Oxford Circus tube station from late 2023.
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