Barber shop hits the right note with Tesco expansion deal

The team at Gould Barbers, including centre left and right, Leigh and Darran Gould. Picture: Paul Tibbs.

The team at Gould Barbers, including centre left and right, Leigh and Darran Gould. Picture: Paul Tibbs. <

A barbers shop with West Norfolk roots is set to grow after cutting a deal with Tesco.

Gould Barbers will open seven new outlets in Tesco Extra stores by the end of January, with the possibility of rolling out to more in the new year if the partnership proves successful.

The move represents a rapid expansion for Goulds, which was founded in Gaywood near King’s Lynn four years ago by brothers Darran and Leigh Gould, before a second store was added in Downham Market a year later.

But it was when Gould took a lease on a unit at Tesco’s Hardwick store in 2016 that it came to the attention of the supermarket giant, which approached the brothers last November.

“They asked us to present our business plan and asked us if we had ambitions to grow. They said they loved our concept and had been looking for a while – and when we went back they asked us to open in another seven stores,” said Mr Gould, 41.

The link-up reflects a wider move from Tesco to host in-store concessions, as it looks to make more profitable use of space at its vast Extra stores.

The expansion will take staff numbers at Goulds from 23 to around 70, but Mr Gould said the footfall in Tesco shops was a powerful recruitment tool for barbers – with around 1,000 customers a week at the Hardwick store.

“Each store has the highest footfall in its area, so it gives us an instant customer base,” said Mr Gould. “The Hardwick store has 8-10,000 customers pass by every day. At my dad’s shop in King’s Lynn, he’s lucky to get 400 people come by.”

Mr Gould said the supermarket had been attracted by the brand’s broad appeal across age groups, which it had likened to Costa Coffee.

The partnership will be reviewed in March, after which Goulds could be added to more of the country’s 257 Tesco Extra stores.

Stores in Baldock, Huntingdon, and Chesterfield will open in December, with outlets in Bar Hill near Cambridge, Wisbech, and Gaywood near King’s Lynn opening the following month. The final opening in this phase will be in Basildon in January.

A spokesman for Tesco said:“This is a particularly important partnership for us as we have been able to work with a small family start-up and help support them in building their business at the same time as bringing more services in store to our customers.”

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