The rise and rise of the nail bar! Towie effect sees more salons springing up than pound shops


The rise and rise of the nail bar! Salons are springing up faster than pound shops

As a method for beating the downturn, it’s certainly nailed it.

Nail salons are opening up faster than pound shops and convenience stores as increasing numbers of women treat themselves to a little luxury, according to retail analysts.

Once seen as a pastime indulged in only by the cast of Absolutely Fabulous, manicures are now a cheap way of transforming a look without having to invest in a new outfit.

Nail salons are one of the fastest-growing businesses on the high street, making up 16.5per cent of new outlets in the past three years

Nail salons are one of the
fastest-growing businesses on the high street, making up 16.5per cent of
new outlets in the past three years

And they are clearly proving a sound business idea for investors as research shows that nail salons are one of the fastest-growing businesses on the high street, making up 16.5per cent of new outlets in the past three years.

Matthew Hopkinson, a director at retail analysts Local Data Company, said that because nail bars have relatively low set-up costs, they had been able to fill the buildings left empty by failed conventional businesses.

He added: ‘Even during the recession, people are prepared to spend money on themselves.’

Thea Green, who set up Nails Inc, the biggest independent nail salon in Britain, said: ‘Nail salons have enduring appeal as they are a fast and affordable way to feel groomed.

‘People are working so hard and under
an increased amount of pressure, so taking 15 minutes of ‘me’ time
makes them feel pampered.

‘After
visiting a nail salon, customers are likely to receive compliments and
then often feel positive and confident about themselves. Nail salons
have the feel good factor and a manicure isn’t as drastic as a haircut
or other beauty treatments.’

Thea Green set up Nails Inc, now the biggest independent nail salon in Britain, with 200,000 in 1999. It now has a turnover of 10million and 59 stores in Britain

Thea Green set up Nails Inc, now the biggest independent nail salon in Britain, with 200,000 in 1999. It now has a turnover of 10million and 59 stores in Britain

She added that they were a sound investment, having started her company Nails Inc with 200,000 in 1999 after visiting New York’s nail bars.

It now has a turnover of 10million and 59 stores in Britain.

While Nails Inc is by far the bigger independent operator in the UK and has plans to expand overseas, the vast majority of nailbars, 95 per cent, are independent outlets, according to LDC.

She added: ‘This business always seemed fairly recession-proof. With the right price and the right environment where they feel pampered enough, women will keep coming.’

Women are also embracing the DIY version, it would seem, as nail polish sales rose 14per cent to 179million in 2010, according to analysts Mintel.

While in Europe, mass market nail polish sales grew nearly twice as fast as the overall make-up market, up 29 per cent between 2007 and 2010, according to figures from Nielsen and IRI research.

Carly Syme, an analyst at the research company Verdict, says: ‘Relatively low selling prices mean consumers can treat themselves even when budgets are tight, and innovation in the market keeps shoppers buying.’