Australian stationery chain Smiggle opens first European store in Westfield Stratford City

The launch of Smiggle's first European store featuring (from left to right) John Cheston, group gene

The launch of Smiggle's first European store featuring (from left to right) John Cheston, group general manager, Solomon Lew, chairman of Premier Investments, and Mark McInnes, chief executive of The Just Group, which owns Smiggle. - Credit: Andy Barnham

An Australian stationery chain set to bring 3,000 new jobs to Britain over the next five years has launched its first European store in Stratford.

Smiggle opened its doors at Westfield Stratford City last Thursday with a range of fun activities.

Described as ‘where a smile meets a giggle’ the chain is largely aimed at younger audiences, and known for its bright colours, while staff often demonstrate products in-store.

Founded in Melbourne in 2003, the global brand aim to open 200 stores across the UK in the next five years with 25 set to begin trading by the end of November.

Myf Ryan, Westfield’s marketing director for UK and Europe, said: “We’ve brought a number of firsts to the UK and we are very excited that Smiggle, a hugely popular Australian brand is making its debut at our centre.

“A large number of families shop at Westfield Stratford City and we expect Smiggle to be a real hit and make its mark with our customers.”

John Cheston, Smiggle group general manager said: “We’ve been planning this for a long time now and we’re absolutely thrilled to open our very first UK store.

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“We visited many times and felt that the large number of families, children and students who shop at the centre would immediately enjoy our store and products.

“The great location, transport options and immaculate facilities of the centre all helped make our decision to open here an easy one!

Smiggle currently have 160 stores across the south Pacific and Australasia, with the Stratford store the first to be opened outside of Australia, New Zealand and Singapore.

UK Trade and Investment played a key role in bringing the chain to British shores and chief executive Crispin Simon insists it is good news for the economy.

“I am delighted to see Smiggle make their first investment in the UK after working with UKTI both here and in Australia,” he said.

“We’ve worked closely with them, providing advice, access and support to help them break into this market and announce exciting plans to create 3,000 jobs in 200 new stores over the next five years.”