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Rangers aim for £100m turnover

RANGERS plan to increase the club's turnover to £100 million a year once it returns to top-level competition.

PROFITS: Finance director Brian Stockbridge is planning an enhanced retail operation. Picture: Mark Mainz
PROFITS: Finance director Brian Stockbridge is planning an enhanced retail operation. Picture: Mark Mainz

The announcement comes little more than a year after the club was plunged into administration, allowing Charles Green's Sevco consortium to buy the business and assets after it was liquidated.

Finance director Brian Stockbridge made the prediction for the third division side as he believes an enhanced retail operation combined with greater sponsorship income – including a naming deal for Ibrox Stadium – will supplement match-day and football revenue.

The club pulled in £9.5m of revenue in the seven months between May and December last year and reported a £7m loss.

But Mr Stockbridge pointed out that Rangers historically had a turnover of about £60m in years when competing in the Champions League – not including merchandising, which had been hived off to JJB Sports.

Rangers is now involved in a joint venture with Mike Ashley's Sports Direct, and recently signed a kit deal with Puma.

Mr Stockbridge revealed the Ibrox megastore is soon to be made four times bigger, on a site on the ground floor of the Edmiston House office block at the stadium.

He said: "When [Rangers] did its own retail it made £20.5m turnover and £5.6m profit just from merchandising.

"But because the club needed money, it gave it to JJB and took an upfront payment, then took the £3m annual licensing fee.

"So, let's say if we can only do as good as £20m [even] with Mike Ashley as our partner, with Puma and with internet sales, then suddenly we are looking at £80m to £90m turnover.

"Then you look at the additional sponsorship possibilities and think it would be nice to get it to £100m, but even then I wouldn't think my job would be done at that point, as it could go on beyond that."

He said Rangers were looking at opening a retail store at Glasgow Airport and one in Belfast. Internet sales and the use of Puma's international retail presence are also expected to grow revenue.

He said: "The Puma deal is a very good one. Typically, a manufacturer pays upfront and will claw that back at the end through the shirt prices.

"With Puma, I negotiated that we get a very high royalty rate on everything, even what we sell in the shop here at Ibrox."

A naming-rights deal for Ibrox is due to be in place for the start of the next season, with Sports Direct one potential partner.

The sales figures for online streaming of Rangers games this season are described as encouraging and the venture is "profitable". The club is also in discussions over rolling out WiFi around Ibrox and upgrading the electronic displays.

While Blackthorn Cider has agreed a deal to be shirt sponsor, Mr Stockbridge is looking for an additional brand to place on the youth team strips as they cannot carry alcohol advertising.

Mr Stockbridge said: "It is about looking at new things the club has never done before to generate revenue, but without ripping people off. This is more than a football club. It is a global brand. Anything that can be done to improve the revenue for the club and commercialise things in a more effective way should be looked at."

While the exact reconstruction of the Scottish football leagues remains undecided, Mr Stockbridge is adamant the club does not need to be playing in the top flight to be profitable.

He admits to being "horrified" at some commercial contracts into which the club had previously been tied, but is delighted with where it now stands.

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