By Scott Wright

TWENTY FIVE jobs are to be created at a Dundee-based sportswear company as it invests to grow its e-commerce operation.

Direct Soccer, which supplies kits and equipment to local, amateur and youth teams, is expanding its warehouse and streamlining operations with the installation of a robotic Autostore solution. It is believed to be the first system of its kind in Scotland.

The £1.9 million investment, which the firm hopes will allow it to target more business at home and abroad, is supported by a £450,000 Regional Selective Assistance grant from Scottish Enterprise.

Direct Soccer, which currently has 20 staff, was established as a traditional retailer in 1997. However, owners Bryce and Joyce Gibson have been operating online exclusively since 2002.

READ MORE: Scott Wright: Online move was an open goal for Direct Soccer

Ms Gibson said: “Covid 19 has proved a challenge during 2020 with social distancing and safety measures having an impact on fulfilment speed as we focused on putting health, quality and safety first whilst processing orders. However, measures were put in place swiftly to minimise the impact on our business allowing us to push forward with our expansion plans during a very turbulent year. The investment programme of £1.9m over the next three years will increase the capacity to match the needs of our growing business.”

Jane Martin, managing director of business advice and services at Scottish Enterprise, said: “We have worked with Direct Soccer for many years and it is fantastic to witness the company’s transition from its traditional retail roots through to a thriving e-commerce business and plans for international growth as it kits out the factory and adds to its team.

“As the impact of Covid 19 is seen across the economy it is vital that Scotland has an innovative, ambitious and outward-looking manufacturing sector that can capitalise on future opportunities for international trade, investment and supply chain development.

“Direct Soccer is a fantastic example of this, and we look forward to continuing to support them as they enter this new phase of ambitious expansion investing and creating new jobs in Dundee.”