AN AWARD-winning fashion store is defying the recession as it looks to boost sales by £1m and take on more staff this year.
Psyche, a multi-award winning designer department store in Middlesbrough, has recently invested £240,000 in its lavish shop floor on Linthorpe Road in a bid to grow the business by 25%.
It will also enhance its supplier relationships and online presence following a £1.4m shot in the arm from Santander Corporate Banking.
The deal comes at a significant time for Psyche, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, making it one of the region’s most successful retailers.
Psyche re-launched its website in 2011 resulting in a 148% jump in revenues for the year, with 20% of all online purchases going overseas.
Psyche was established in 1982 by managing director Steve Cochrane.
He believes investing in a time of recession is better than battening down the hatches and laying off staff in the hope that it will go away.
He said: “We feel like we’re a landmark part of Middlesbrough’s high street and have been for a long time now. In times like these it’s all about making yourself the best you can possibly be in order to succeed.
“We’ve added loads of new brands and taken on five staff this year, taking our workforce up to 62. We’ll be taking on two more in the next month or so.
“We’re on target for 25% growth this year and that would have been 30% if it wasn’t for the terrible weather we’ve had.
“Our target is to grow last year’s turnover of £4m to £5m by the time our annual accounts are released in January next year.
“Our internet sales have gone through the roof and it’s surprising to see so many of our items going abroad because we haven’t done any marketing overseas.
“A lot of people ask me whether we are we going to open more shops, but the way the internet is going we don’t need to. We’ve got a loading bay, a goods list and all the infrastructure in place without having to open a new shop.
“However, we will need to look for a warehouse in the next 12 months to accommodate our increase in orders.
“If you’re good at what you do and you’re passionate about it, you will do OK. If this is a recession I’ll take it all day long.”
Cochrane, who worked on an oil rig to earn the cash to open his first clothes shop 30 years ago, says despite the country making cutbacks the general public still places onus on buying quality clothes.
“Brands such as Lindeberg, Armani and Ralph Lauren have been selling really well for us,” he said. “D&G stopped trading and that was a very important label for us, but then it swings in roundabouts.
“People want the comfort of buying big well-known brands because they are investment pieces.”