Swedish socks-and-underwear brand Happy Socks is planning a massive store expansion this year, growing to 80-90 stores, up from the 50-60 operated last year, Footwear News reports. In the next 12 months or so, the 10-year-old brand will open six locations in the U.S., three on each coast, according to the report.
The company has an advantage in finding real estate for stores, considering its small packages require a small footprint. Locations need only be about 500 square feet, according to the report.
But the sky’s the limit, according to founder Viktor Tell, who told the publication: "It can be ever evolving. Our brand is stronger than just the product. So we could do a hotel or a spaceship. I don’t even know all we’re going to do.”
Stockholm-based Happy Socks sells more than 20 million pairs of socks annually in 90 countries through more than 10,000 points of sale, including online and through stores, according to London-based private equity firm Palamon, which in January 2017 acquired a majority stake for approximately $4.5 million (40 million Swedish kronor of growth capital) to support its expansion. But it's brand proposition is "to spread happiness," according to its website.
Palamon sees the retailer as disrupting the global sock market by offering "high quality, attractively priced, colorful patterned socks promoted through creative point of sale displays, celebrity collaborations and a strong social media presence."
"Happy Socks is a phenomenal company with a very distinctive brand DNA that resonates with consumers around the world," Palamon Capital Partner Ali Rahmatollahi said in a statement last year. "Palamon’s investment stems from the firm’s ongoing effort to identify well-positioned European specialty retail brands with strong growth potential in a global market."
Palamon’s previous investments in the specialty retail sector include German e-commerce designer apparel company Dress-for-Less, U.K. e-commerce beauty retailer Feelunique.com, Italian leather goods brand Il Bisonte and luxury handmade rug retailer The Rug Company.
Happy Socks has a lot of runway for growth, especially in larger markets like Germany, the U.K., Japan and China, according to Palamon. "There is also the opportunity to drive growth across all markets through the introduction of new product lines and brand extensions," according to the firm. The company has already expanded beyond men's socks to include women's and kids, as well as underwear and men's swimwear, according to Footwear News. The brand has also partnered with Snoop Dog, Adidas and Barney's New York for designs and sales.