with ambitions plans to open over 200 more locations, which would create well over 1,000 new jobs over the next three years. The UK’s biggest vaping retailer has said it expects the UK Government to protect vapers from a San Francisco-style ban, as it commits its future to the industry with this major expansion plan.
VPZ which already has a whopping 125 stores across the country said that it has outlined the rapid expansion proposals in order to keep up with surging demand as smokers put down traditional cigarettes and pick up their preferred vaping and eLiquid products.
These expansive plans will see the company, which started in Edinburgh in 2012, grow substantially in Wales and the South East as it looks to cover more of the UK market. Doug Mutter, director at VPZ said: “These plans will treble the size of our business by the end of 2021." He continued “There are currently 3 million vapers in the UK market and that is continuing to grow fast, so we need to grow fast ourselves to meet that high demand.”
When asked about the nature of the San Francisco complete vape ban Mutter stated that he found the decision across the channel “bemusing”, and that the UK Government has taken a “more logical” approach to the vaping industry. While there are still significant calls for more research to take place on the health effects of vaping in general, Public Health England’s most recent study suggests that vaping is up to 95% less harmful than traditional cigarettes.
In the UK, buyers of vaping products must be at least 18 years of age, and Mutter believes current state restrictions are “fair”. Mutter said “It was completely bemusing when I saw the regulations in San Francisco – it is only going to drive people back to cigarettes which are more dangerous." He continued; “I can’t see anything similar happening here because the UK government has a much better stance. The regulations over here are reasonable, and in fact, we’ve helped to drive a ‘Challenge 25’ policy for UK vaping retailers which has been backed by the Vaping Industry Association.”
VPZ said its shop expansion plan will focus on high street, town center locations, contrasting the current pessimism currently affecting a large number of UK high street retailers. The company director said the increase in store vacancies on high streets has presented a good growth opportunity for the firm. Mutter added; “We are on the upturn right now, so a key priority for us is working quickly to find the best possible high street locations and then we can deliver new jobs in that area.”
Well if only we had our affairs in such an order in this country! What do you think about the latest San Francisco ban and the differences our across the pond cousins have? How do you see VPZ's aggressive expansion playing out? Will Vape shops be the coffee shops of the next decade?