Business Growth Fund invests £3.2m in art retailer Cass Art

Backing to see roll-out of art stores across the UK

Independent art materials supplier Cass Art has secured £3.2m from the Business Growth Fund (BGF) to expand its offering to other areas of the UK.

Founded in 2001 by art promoter and serial entrepreneur Mark Cass, Cass Art specialises in art products, drawing and craft materials with the goal to “encourage everyone to realise their creative talents.”

The art company operates six stores across London and the South East with locations in Kensington, Charing Cross and Islington, and in recent years has grown its team to over 90 staff.

It plans to use the investment to “fulfill its nationwide ambitions” with openings planned in major cities over the next five years.

The finance will also support the development of its recently launched e-commerce platform.

As part of the deal, Stuart Rose, chairman of Agent Provocateur, will be joining its board as non-executive director alongside BGF’s London investment director Rory Pope who will serve as BGF’s representative.

The announcement marks BGF’s 11th investment in businesses in London and the South East, taking its overall funding of companies within the region to £57m.

Cass, who also founded Image Bank UK which sold to Getty in 2000, discussed the company’s growth strategy:

“We already have a very loyal creative customer base, a great management team, a workforce of creative and dedicated staff, stores in key locations in London and now the e-commerce capability. But we need to expand beyond London and connect with all the UK’s creative communities.

“That is why BGF’s investment is great news for us. Their financing and the additional expertise they bring to us as a partner investor will help us take our mission out of London to the whole nation – filling the country with artists.”

BGF investment director, Pope, continued:  “The company has a good high street presence in London already but there is clearly the scope and ambition to expand nationally not only their physical presence on the high street but also online via the new e-commerce platform and become the only multi-channel art retailer in UK.

“For all these reasons, Cass Art is a highly attractive business for us to support and we are delighted to be working with Mark and his team.”

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