GO Outdoors

Country UK
Region Yorkshire and the Humber
Investor YFM Equity Partners

GO Outdoors is an out-of-town retailer of clothing and equipment for a wide range of outdoor activities. When YFM Equity Partners originally invested in 1998, there was just one store in Sheffield generating £2m in sales, but the firm could see potential for rapid expansion together with its serial entrepreneur founder and a high energy CEO.

YFM helped professionalise the board to manage this transformational growth by introducing new decision-making processes and encouraged the strengthening of the board. In addition, YFM helped the company through a difficult trading period in the early days by restructuring its investment. YFM’s long-term partnership with the business helped create a nationwide retail business with 49 stores and over £200m of turnover. YFM partially exited GO Outdoors in 2011, before making a full realisation in 2016, returning close to 40x its investment.

Without the active involvement and strategic advice from YFM Equity Partners, GO Outdoors wouldn’t be the business it is today

John Graham Co-Founder, GO Outdoors

What did the business need?

  • Capital for rapid increase in store numbers
  • Strategic guidance
  • Support for fast growth to create a nationwide chain of stores

How did private equity backing create lasting value?

  • Strengthened management by bringing in e-commerce expert director
  • Introduced new store opening decision-making processes
  • Proposed concept of discount loyalty card
  • Worked closely with management team to drive strategy of store expansion programme despite difficult trading conditions

What outcomes did private equity investment achieve?

  • Created the UK market leader in outdoor clothing and equipment retailing
  • Grew store numbers from one in Sheffield to 49 nationwide
  • Created 2,000 new jobs, increasing staff numbers from just 15
  • Increased turnover from £2m to over £200m
  • Generated a return of nearly 40x cash invested for YFM investors


new stores opened


jobs created, up from 15 staff

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