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3 Huge Companies That Started With A Single Shop

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Are you thinking about opening your first shop? Are you wondering whether the risk is worth it?

The first steps on a business journey can be nerve-wracking but also exciting moments – there is always a risk of failure, but at the same time your new store could become a huge success!

To give you a little inspiration, here are the stories of 3 huge companies that started with a single shop.


In 1869, the original Sainsbury's store opened at 173 Drury Lane in Holborn, London. This rented shop sold mainly fresh foods, and from the beginning focused on quality at competitive prices. As additional stores opened, Sainsbury's increased their range to include groceries, and made sure that each store had the same look and branding.

Each site was carefully chosen and home delivery was available from every shop. This strategy worked well - by 1922 Sainsbury's were the largest chain of grocers in the UK. Nowadays, the company has 1415 stores with a revenue of £26.2 billion!

Sports Direct

Sports Direct began life in 1982 as a single store in Maidenhead, originally called Mike Ashley Sports. A second shop opened two years later in London, and by 1992, there were 12 stores in total.

During the 1990's the company continued to expand and bought the 'Donnay' brand. They subsequently acquired other brands and clothing manufacturers to become the number 1 sports retailer in the UK. Sports Direct now have 670 stores worldwide and employ 17,000 people. Their profits for the last financial year were £113 million.

The Body Shop

After being inspired by a Californian retailer, Anita Roddick founded the first Body Shop in Brighton on 26th March 1976. Anita sold products with natural ingredients that were ethically sourced and were never tested on animals. This message soon resonated and by 1982, two shops were opening on a monthly basis.

In 1985, The Body Shop floated as a public company, and in 2006 the company was sold to L'Oreal for £652 million - there are currently over 3000 Body Shop locations throughout the world.

Your First Store?

At Pall Mall Estates, we have a number of affordable retail opportunities in locations across the UK. Could one of them be suitable for your first shop?

Situated in a busy location just minutes from Birmingham centre, we have a store at Balsall Heath that is easily accessible from the national motorway network. Measuring 870 square feet, it enjoys a good position on a popular shopping parade.

Walsgrave Road is another excellent facility, set in a retail location within a mile of Coventry city centre. It would be suitable for a start-up business or for companies looking to expand their operations. Comprising both a retail unit and office space, there is car parking on-site for employees and customers.

For details of all our retail opportunities, please contact a member of our team on 0121 228 0000.

At Pall Mall Estates, we have a number of affordable retail opportunities in locations across the UK. Could one of them be suitable for your first shop?

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