Gift Universe eyes global expansion following HSBC UK funding package

Gift and gadget retailer Gift Universe Group is looking at expansion following the backing of an eight-figure funding package from HSBC UK.

The business currently employs 30 staff in its Hull distribution centre and is recognised as the UK’s fastest growing gifts and gadgets retailer and wholesaler, offering everything from drones to decanters.

In order 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.

Gift Universe Group’s products are sold through gift brands like RED5 and Menkind, which together have 80 high street outlets nationwide, including pop up shops as well as online retailing. The business is also ramping up its presence on ecommerce platforms like Amazon.

Paul Kraftman, chairman and executive chief of Gift Universe Group, said: “The retail sector has undergone profound change since we launched the business 16 years ago. To react, we have 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 are 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, added: “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.”

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.

About Robert Hutchins

Robert Hutchins is the editor of Licensing.biz and ToyNews. Hutchins has worked his way up from Staff Writer to the position of Editor across the two titles, having spent almost eight years with both ToyNews and Licensing.biz, and what now seems like a lifetime surrounded by toys. You can contact him by emailing robert.hutchins@biz-media.co.uk or calling him on 0203 143 8780 You can even follow him on Twitter @RobGHutchins if ranting is your thing...

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