How Much Does It Cost to Open a Clothing Store?

Written by Danielle Collard

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So you’ve had your moment of inspiration. Now, you want to follow your passion: you want to open a clothing store. But you need to put together a plan and the first thing you want to know is “how much is this going to cost?” From inspiration to the moment you finally open for business there are a hundred and more different, expensive things to consider, so here are a few points to help you get organised.


Researching the product

You may already know which corner of the huge clothing market you want to specialise in. You may have already read our guide on starting a clothing shop but the cost of this research can be difficult to ascertain. 

Knowing your competition and the market standards before investing further is a worthwhile step. Research is a valuable way of protecting yourself against the potentially greater cost of making uninformed decisions further down the line.


Are you going to attend trade shows? These are a great way of making contacts and gaining experience from those further along in their retail journey. Tickets can cost several hundred pounds, and combined with travel expenses and costs once inside, a trade show is a significant expenditure. However, you will gain valuable knowledge and insight into your industry.

You may want to visit other retailers and potential suppliers in the market. Both locally and further afield, seeing what products are already out there, the range of quality, and seeing the difference between the idea you have and the end result could help you make the best of starts. Travel and hotel costs and the cost of your time just adds that little bit of extra expense at a time when money is going to be tight.


Finding a location

The next step is deciding where you’re going to be selling your clothes. This doesn’t necessarily mean hiring retail space. Many successful outlets make all of their money online. 

Depending on which market you’re going for, you may need to invest a lot of money in making your website1 as fashionable as your clothes[1]. This often means hiring a web developer to produce your website which may even mean a five-figure expenditure. But afterward, the cost of your webspace will likely be far lower than the rental on a physical store and will broaden your access to markets far beyond your geographical base.

If you’re looking to go online, but need to cut back the initial cost, Epos Now partners like Shopify and Woocommerce allow you to use existing platforms to build your webstore. These platforms can integrate with Epos Now to help you run your entire business from one place, simplifying the process right from the start.


Alternatively, if your business plan involves a physical store, finding and hiring a shop floor in an urban area will be a key expense to plan for. Rent could cost you anywhere from £500PM off the high street in a smaller city to many thousands each month for prime retail space in London. Choosing how much of your initial capital to invest in getting a better location is a big decision. Overstretching your finances can cause problems later on, but a good location pays for itself with the added sales passing trade and the accumulation publicity that extra visibility gives you.

Once acquired, money will need to be set aside for decorating the space and purchasing everything from clothes hangers to stationary to price tags. You will also need to consider the cost of paying for the initial stock, which will vary greatly depending on your market and the size of your store.


Purchasing an EPOS

Once your physical shop is ready, you can start deciding and designing your payment processes. For clothing retailers, in particular, the importance of having stock control, online integration, accountancy software and card machines makes an EPOS Now system really valuable. A card machine like the Countertop P400 is streamlined to work with an easy-to-use EPOS for clothing stores like yours!


Epos Now tills save businesses money with:


  • Low upfront costs
  • Flexible payment options
  • Till-screens, printers and cash drawers included 
  • Simple, time-saving integrations
  • Online and in-store stock control and reports
  • Expert advice and technical support 24/7

Choosing the right EPOS is a big step towards getting your clothing store up and running, and can be the difference between staying in and going over budget.


The little, important extras

Sometimes, it can be the little extras you forgot that put you over a tight budget. Business insurance is a must and can range from £50 to £500+2 for small businesses[2]. Business insurance can cover retailers for losses from supply chain issues and unforeseeable interruptions to business, as well as damage to your valuable stock or to the premises. Employers’ liability insurance is also a legal requirement costing between £60 - £210 for every member of staff you hire, depending on risks (although risks in clothing retail will be predictably low).

You’ve designed your beautiful store, the clothes are on the shelves, but the atmosphere just won’t be there without some background music in the air. Without a PPL license (the license your business needs to play music to the public), come opening day, you’d be breaking the law if you played any copyrighted, fashionable music the public can hear. PPL will cost retailers somewhere in the region of £150, depending on the size of the store but is absolutely necessary to make your shop a place customers think of as fashionable and pleasant to visit.


Advertise far and wide

With all that you’ve done so far, you’re almost ready to go. But once the doors open, the business will still be quiet if people aren’t aware your big moment has arrived. Marketing your business is crucial to make people think of you before anyone else when they’re in need of what you’re selling. Posting advertisements in spaces your target audience will see them might mean paying for space in local newspapers, giving interviews on local radio stations.

If you’ve gone online, you may want to pay for online search engine ads, so that your website will be visible if someone searches for something related to your business. Social media is a great way to get the word out cheaply and is a fantastic resource for anyone with or without a budget.

Take a look at our guide for marketing on a budget for more ideas.


Already in business and looking to expand?

If you’re an SME looking to grow your business or break into clothing retail, take a look at Epos Now Capital. Epos Now Capital will provide you with the initial financing needed to further invest in your business and start your expansion in a personalised, pain-free manner that leaves you free to focus on your venture. Repayments are taken as part of transaction fees so you only pay as your customers pay you!

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