UK retailer Mamas & Papas eyes licensing and franchising among global growth plans

The British nursery and children’s wear retailer, Mamas & Papas is eyeing international growth, having signed a slate of new overseas partnerships across central and eastern Europe.

The move, according to the firm, arrives amid a surge in international demand for British heritage brands like the Yorkshire-based Mamas & Papas, who has now counted the exploration of licensing partners among its wider global ambitions.

The company, who has headquarters in Huddersfield, and designs and manufactures travel systems, nursery furniture, and children’s clothing, said the new agreements were part of the retailer’s long term goal to be the ‘global nursery brand of choice.’ It added that it was exploring multiple routes to market, from “distributors and agents, to franchisees and licensing partners.”

Mamas & Papas has now signed distribution partners in ten countries, including the likes of Russia, Poland, and the Czech Republic, which have been pinpointed as key markets for the brand. It is also close to signing agreements covering five further countries.

With similar partnerships in the Far East and the Middle East now also on the radar, Mamas & Papas expects to double its overseas sales to the region next year.

Johan Meyfroidt, international general manager at Mamas & Papas, said: “There has always been strong overseas demand for British heritage brands like Mamas & Papas and our products have sold successfully in a number of markets for decades. As we step up our global ambitions, we’re exploring multiple routes to market, from distributors and agents to franchisees and licensing partners.

“What works in Poland may not work in Malaysia, so it’s important we have the agility to tailor our approach to suit local market dynamics.”

Mark Saunders, chief executive officer at Mamas & Papas, added: “Our international strategy is about scaling our presence in new and existing overseas markets at pace but also at low cost, helping us meet increasing global appetite for our design-led products, especially in those territories with increasingly affluent populations.

“Post-Brexit, it’s important that UK firms think globally about their growth and take full advantage of the enduring appeal of British brands.”

“We’re also continuing to expand our presence in our core UK market, both through our online business and our standalone stores and Next concessions.”

The company recently reported strong trading across its store portfolio and online business following the re-opening of non-essential retail in April.