How to set up a clothes shop in the UK

Friday, November 18, 2016 - 10:37
How to set up a clothes shop in the UK

You’ve got the idea – congratulations! You learnt about the clothing industry. You wrote a business plan. You found the money and the right location. You studied your competitors and the target market; now it’s time to prepare yourself for the red tape - don’t let bureaucracy beat you down.

Here at intelligentpos we want to encourage you to fulfill your dream. But we cannot create false expectations though – setting up a business is very gratifying, but not a bed of roses. Here are some easy-to-follow tips about the less appealing part of setting up a clothes shop in Britain:


Find a really good accountant and a commercial lawyer. No matter where you open your store! London, Edinburgh or a small village in Cornwall, “Legis non excusat” which means, “ignorance of the law is not an excuse.”


Choose a business structure. Benjamin Franklin said, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes”. Different types of business have different duties but all have declarations to make to HMRC. Once you decided which kind of business structure your company would have, your accountant will set your tax profile.

If you want to be the only person in charge, then the sole trader is the solution for you. This is the simplest form of business set-up, you keep records and you register as self- employed for tax purposes. Slightly more complicated if you want to share your adventure with a business partner. This is where your accountant and lawyer will come and rescue you, explaining all the differences between a general or dormant partner, a limited company or a limited liability partnership, and which kind of risks are involved.


Register your company name. It will become your long term identity and it’ll be your first communications medium. It’s even more important if you sell a product designed and produced by you. Check if the name you chose is original and doesn’t have any restrictions, otherwise you risk infringing a registered trade mark. Register the name also prevents others from copying it in the future and protects your business against “passing off” – that is, others using your name to piggyback on your success, potentially taking customers away from you in your market or trading area.


Get licensing. This is a much extended field. A clothes store doesn’t require a specific license but you’ll probably need one to play music inside the store or to process personal data. What you should do is a list of all services and appliances or devices that you’ll provide and use in your store and then check which kind of licenses you need.

It’s important to know if the council area where you open the store has some limitations, benefits or standards. Then of course you must open a bank account (it’s always better to separate the private from the company one), gas, electricity, water and so on.

Take a look at the UK Government website on how to start a business. You can find a well done dedicated area with the basic info you need, especially the section for the license finder.

Giacomo Balduzzi