"Many think we're mad - but we'll open 50 shops in as many days"

Posted by Mail on Sunday on 28th Jun 2015

Andy Bond's team at Pep & Co is just days away from what could be a world first.

The former Asda chief executive will open his first clothing shop in Kettering on Wednesday, then after a two-week pause to test the IT system he will open another 49, around one a day, until the end of August in towns across Britain.

It's being billed as 50 stores in 50 days and such a feat has never been achieved before from a standing start and in such a short space of time.

Bond, who by coincidence has just turned 50, says in his deadpan style: 'A lot of people think we must be mad. But we feel very strongly that there's a gap in the market.

'We've got an experienced management team and we're supported by financially strong and supportive shareholders. If that's mad then, yes, we're mad,' he says.

But they are well-funded madmen. Behind Bond sits Christo Wiese, the billionaire South African retailer who has been stalking Britain's retail sector for the past two years. 

He has already snapped up New Look. Pep & Co is the second front in this battle for the high street.

Last Thursday Bond gave an update to the chain's suppliers – and The Mail on Sunday, which first broke the news of the plan in December.

Shoppers passing through the Newlands Shopping Centre in Kettering stooped to peek under the half-open door shutters and get a look beyond the front windows, which remain covered. 

Most of them have prams or small children, which suggests they are the very people Pep & Co is targeting – mums on a budget.

The first 50 stores will include Boscombe in Dorset, the furthest south, and Glenrothes in Fife, the most northerly and one of eight in Scotland.

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