WREXHAM FC have scored a record-breaking success with their latest pop-up store – with takings up 25 per cent on last year.
Steve Cook, commercial manager of the Vanarama Conference side now being successfully run by its own fans, says the shop at the town’s Eagles Meadow shopping centre has given the club’s finances a major boost.
According to Steve, the prime location and the huge range of quality stock has helped them rack up around £90,000 of sales.
Steve said: “We opened the Christmas shop at the end of November and we’re due to close it on January 18 but during the crucial December period it exceeded all our expectations,” he explained.
“We took almost £90,000, which is roughly 25 per cent more than we did when we had the shop at Eagles Meadow the previous December.
“That’s just amazing and means we’ve raised something like a third of our total annual retail budget in just one month.”
He added: “One of the major factors in the shop’s success has been its great location near the pedestrian bridge at the St Giles Church end of the centre. We are one of the very first shops people have been seeing as they’ve come in to do their shopping and that’s helped tremendously.
“Another thing which has helped boost our takings is the increased range of merchandise in the shop. The previous Christmas we had a pretty good range of stock but this time we’ve had substantially more to offer our fans.
“We opened with stock worth about £100,000 and there were over 130 different products which included something for everyone, from kids to adults and both men and women.
“For the first time we’ve had items such as dressing gowns in three different colours, all bearing the club’s crest, and there have also been other novel lines such as cufflinks, ties and iPad covers.
“Many of our customers have been commenting on the quality of the products. For instance, some of the bobble hats we were offering weren’t just the usual ones bearing the club’s name but were also quite fashionable designs like you’d see in the best high street shops.
“We were also offering items you definitely wouldn’t see anywhere else such as Wrexham FC branded boxer shorts for the guys.
“Apart from the clothing the store has also been stocking lots of items bearing our 150th anniversary crest, from crystal glassware to car mats, which went down very well.
“I’d say that our most popular lines have been our latest home shirts, polo shirts and hoodies, which have all been flying off the shelves.
“We put a lot of effort into the design of the shop and outside we had some big stickers over the windows saying things like `Oh Come all Ye Faithful’, which was appropriate for Christmas and was a message that our fans certainly heeded as they came flocking through the door.
“With the effort that’s gone into it I think you’d be hard pressed to find another store like this right up to Premiership level.”
Steve said that everyone at the club was delighted with how the shop had performed and its managers were already thinking of mounting a similar venture later this year.
He said: “This has been our fifth pop-up shop at Eagles Meadow and myself and all the board members as so pleased with how it has done this year that we’ve got our sights set on offering our fans something similar in the shopping centre this summer.
“The Eagles Meadow shop is now such an important part of our retail strategy that we just can’t afford to stay away.
“I’d also like to say how grateful we are to the centre management team for again being so accommodating. They were extremely helpful to us all the way through the process of setting up the store.”
Eagles Meadow manager Kevin Critchley was delighted to welcome Wrexham FC back to the shopping centre.
He said: “Wrexham is a football mad town and the club is part of the fabric of the community here so we are pleased to be able to do what we can to support them.
“I am thrilled that the shop has done so well here at Eagles Meadow, providing a timely boost to the club’s finances.”
The Eagles Meadow store is open from 9am-5.30pm from Monday to Saturday and from 11am-5pm on Sunday up until January 18.
It is manned by three full-time club staff supported by six volunteers working on a rota basis.