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Oswaldtwistle Mills looks for growth

Oswaldtwistle Mills, one of Lancashire’s largest retail and tourism destination outlets, is looking for further growth in 2014 after successful and progressive trading results over the last four years.

During that period Oswaldtwistle Mills has expanded its retail space by 30,000 sq ft to 100,000 sq ft, attracting leading concessions like Edinburgh Woollen Mill, Peacocks, Roman Originals, The Works, Yankee Candle, Thomas Cook and Pavers, as well as converting and letting a 35,000 sq ft business and conference centre which is home to 28 businesses.

This March saw the launch of a fourth onsite restaurant, the £100,000 Terrace Tea Room operated by the Massarella Catering Group, while a £200,000 aquatics centre was opened last year as a joint collaboration with Maidenhead Aquatics.

The business generates its income from commission payable on handling charges and rents, acting as managing landlord and site developer with a focus on marketing to drive footfall. It manages direct operations in giftware, garden, rise and recline furniture, a food deli and a sweet shop.

James Allison, Corporate partner at Napthens’ Blackburn recently advised on a deal that saw Oswaldtwistle Mills secure a £3.8m funding package with Barclays to help with its growth plans. Boyd Hargreaves, managing director of Oswaldtwistle Mills, said: “The new deal offers us a much keener level of interest and has allowed us to tidy up our 9.5 acre freehold property portfolio with a strategic building purchase.

“It enables considerable rent savings on a previously leased part of the site and the funding gives good headroom for further development – without adding to turnover, the new deal will help enhance the profitability of the business over the next 12 months.

“We have pushed our capital expenditure over the last four years within a difficult climate and have secured funds from various lending avenues to get us where we are now. It has been a very difficult process but we are well positioned now to push forward.”

Oswaldtwistle Mills incorporates more than 100 concession retailers, including many local independents. It attracts more than a million customers per year and is the UK’s leading specialist in bringing coach tours to the facility, attracting over 1200 coaches every year.