A COUNTY Durham online flooring retailer is spending more than £1m on nine new stores across the UK.

Connection Retail has already opened two outlets in Newport and Swindon, with a third to follow in Edinburgh this Saturday (February 10).

Further stores in Birmingham, Croydon, Crewe, York, Leeds and Keighley are also scheduled to open before the end of May, which bosses say will create dozens of jobs.

It will mean the company, based in Shildon, County Durham, will have increased its number of physical stores by more than 130 per cent in a little over a year.

Its first branch opened in Birtley, near Chester-le-Street, in February last year.

Officials say the rapid growth is set to see the company’s annual turnover rise from £24m to £35m in 2019, adding its new stores will all sell products from its three brands - Flooring Superstore, Direct Wood Flooring and Grass Direct.

Dan Foskett, managing director, said: “This year represents a significant expansion of our retail flooring business as we open new stores across England, Wales and Scotland.

“This bricks and mortar expansion strategy complements the significant online presence we have built up since starting trading in 2012.

“We are growing at a fantastic rate, while at the same time are able to maintain online pricing in our high street stores.

“And, just as importantly, it means we are investing in towns and cities across the UK, creating dozens of new job opportunities for local people.”

The new stores will predominantly focus on Flooring Superstore and Direct Wood Flooring, with Grass Direct a concession.

Mr Foskett added: “We are providing people with a one-stop-shop for all their flooring needs.

“It’s an exciting time for the business as we shift from being purely e-commerce to building our physical presence throughout 2018 and beyond and becoming a leading player in the retail flooring industry.”