BRITAIN’s biggest sunbed chain has opened its latest, hi-tech salon in Huddersfield, meeting growing demand across Yorkshire for healthy tanning options.
The new salon was launched following a £350,000 investment by Indigo Sun, and sees it become a flagship for the firm’s UK-wide expansion following a brand refresh, creating eight new jobs.
It is part of an ambitious expansion plan and marks Indigo Sun’s fourth salon in Yorkshire, with a fifth due to follow within months – all to meet heightened demand. It also brings the firm’s headcount in Yorkshire to 40.
Frank Taylor, the founder and CEO of the family firm, said the Wakefield Road Retail Park location is a perfect snapshot of Indigo Sun’s growth plans for serving an army of customers who spend £500 per year each.
He added: “We have around 18,000 loyal and regular customers across Yorkshire and that number is growing all the time. We’re delighted to be investing so heavily in the area to ensure they have the best possible choice of tanning options in the most convenient locations.
“We’ve just recorded our most successful ever year, as people got back to normal after the pandemic and are determined to start travelling and taking holidays with great enthusiasm.
“The end of lockdown was a clear signal for our customers to return to our salons, including all of our Yorkshire outlets. Across the country they did so in such numbers that at peak periods in 2022 we were serving 140,000 people a week.”
During lockdown Indigo Sun mapped out an ambitious growth strategy which will see it open 10 new outlets every year. It also embarked on a refitting and refurbishment programme, bringing an upmarket beach club aesthetic to its salons.
Frank added: “Everything now is about location. We are looking for retail sites in towns that are on main arterial routes, offer free parking and have access to a diverse range of other outlets – and our new Huddersfield site is a perfect example.
“It was previously a kitchen design outlet and is part of a parade of three shops with surrounding retailers including a major gym, supermarkets and fast-food outlets. Convenience and diversity are major factors in why we chose this location.”
The new Huddersfield salon is equipped with 13 tanning beds and, over the coming months, the usage will be carefully tracked before Indigo Sun invests a further £50,000 in providing more of the most popular beds.
Frank added: “Part of the reason that dedicated tanning salons are growing in popularity is because of the cost and complexity of the equipment.
“Modern sunbeds now have features such as Bluetooth so that customers can connect their phones and play their own choice of music. They also have sophisticated aircon systems and sensitivity settings for specific skin types.
“On top of that our salons have more sunbeds installed to reduce waiting times and dedicated staff with an in-depth knowledge on the use of sunbeds.
“Put all of that in a convenient location where people may also be visiting a gym, a supermarket, a pharmacy or a food outlet and you can see why the ease of use means our typical customers are now spending £500 a year with us.”
With its younger customer base and large foot fall the chain is now a prime target for retail developments, which are within town or city limits, but sit outside of traditional town centres.
Across the UK the firm, which is headquartered in Stirling, is targeting its expansion on towns or populations centres of at least 100,000 people. In bigger cities, it will look to create clusters of salons, for more streamlined management.
As well as the new Huddersfield outlet it already operates two salons in Leeds – Pudsey and Seacroft – with another outlet at Heslington in York. Within months it will open a fifth salon in Doncaster
Currently stretching from Inverness to London, Indigo Sun has 100 tanning venues across the UK, employing 817 people. Most of the salons are 1000-2000 sq ft.
Last month (Feb) Indigo Sun reported its best ever results, recording a turnover of more than £26m and almost £5.6m profit in its latest financial year.