Glasgow Wary of Hustler’s Sex Shop Plans

Kat Khan
GLASGOW — After rumors circulated that Hustler Hollywood would pull out of the U.K. market, reports now say company officials are reportedly moving forward with plans to open their first Scottish sex shop in Glasgow.

The company, which recently re-opened the Birmingham and London branches at the end of November, is shopping locations for a $1.7 million store in the city. Officials hope the outlet will rival Ann Summers, Glasgow’s existing adult shop chain and spark "sex wars on the high street."

Gordon Bell of Hustler Hollywood said the company intended to open in the former Clydesdale Bank premises beside the St. Enoch Subway station but the deal fell through.

Officials in early December confirmed they are now looking for a large store on Buchanan Street, Argyle Street or in the Buchanan Galleries and said they hope to have the store open before Valentine’s Day.

"We are still looking, but it will depend on finding premises on the right street,” Bell said. “For the size of shop we are looking at, we could easily spend about $1.7 million."

The store is the concept of Theresa Flynt-Gaerke, daughter of Larry Flynt, well known for his magazine publishing empire. Flynt-Gaerke said the Glasgow store will target men and women between 19-26 years old and would be respectably maintained.

But Flynt's controversial reputation is likely to spark a storm among anti-porn campaigners who have objected to sex shop bids.

“It is fair to say Glasgow has so far managed to keep these shops to a minimum," Jim Coleman, deputy leader of Glasgow City Council, said.

Coleman said if the new store is a sex shop and the majority of products are of a sexual nature, then the company would be required to apply to the council for a license.

“In the past that has not been supported by the people of Glasgow,” Coleman said.

However, Hustler officials insist no hardcore pornography will be sold, thus exempting the shop from needing a special sex shop license.

In November, Hustler’s U.K. Managing Director Andrew Joseph crushed rumors that the sex store will pull out of the U.K. market completely, though he did admit the company lost money due to unsuccessful product lines. Various reports speculate the company’s losses ran into six figures, a substantial portion of their initial $13.8 million investment.

"Our mistake was to assume that our U.S. offering would transfer to the U.K., but that has not been the case," he said.

However, with new investment and support from the Flynt family's U.S. porn empire, Hustler U.K. officials said the store is ready to start taking market share from its rivals.

Joseph said Hustler is in the process of investing $17.3 million into its U.K. stores, with plans to roll out six new stores by February 2006, including Cardiff, Newcastle, Manchester, Leeds, Glasgow and Camden, London. All locations are still subject to approval by Hustler Hollywood, U.S.

Branches for Nottingham and Sheffield are also planned for August 2006.

He added that Hustler is reinvesting in products exclusively for the U.K., including a new U.K. clothing line featuring a greater choice of menswear and more fitted clothing for women. Hustler recently also introduced a winter range of branded tracksuits and hooded tops; popular lines such as branded lingerie and vibrators will remain.