Nov 16, 2018

Klarna launches search to find the UK’s ‘Smooothest Stores’

Today, Klarna is launching their latest initiative to discover and help develop top retail talent across the UK through their ‘Smoooth Stores’ initiative. The competition, which is now open for entries, will help up-and-coming retailers in the UK put themselves on the map, and potentially win a tailored combination of guidance, finance, and Klarna’s in-demand Pay later payment product.

The judging panel is headed up by power couple Hugo Taylor and Millie Mackintosh, who will go head-to-head in the quest to find the nation’s next revolutionary retailer.  Both have experience in running retail start-ups and the world of fashion with Hugo’s ‘Taylor Morris Eyewear’ now stocked in Harvey Nichols and Bloomingdales.

The competition is part of Klarna’s mission to support retailers and small businesses across the UK, with ‘Smoooth Stores’ offering brands the opportunity to accelerate their growth and learn from some of the best in the industry. Brands applying must be no more than 2 years old, have a turnover upwards of £100,000 and have an online eCommerce store where shoppers can purchase items, specialising in fashion, jewellery or lifestyle products.

Applications close at the end of December 2018, after which eight brands will be shortlisted by a panel of judges including Millie and Hugo, representatives from Klarna and an independent judge. These eight finalists will each meet with one of Klarna’s brand ambassadors and create a short video about their business. The content series will launch in February 2019, after which the public will be able to vote for the brand they want to see crowned ‘The UK’s Smooothest Store’.


The winner will receive:
  • Mentoring from Klarna senior executives who are industry leaders in their fields, they will offer advice and guidance on how to grow the winning brand
  • £10,000 cash prize, along with guidance on the best way to spend the money to ensure growth
  • Free use of Klarna’s Pay later service for 12 months, giving customers access to Buy nowPay later services in the UK


Luke Griffiths, General Manager at Klarna UK, commented:

“We know how difficult it is to grow a business in a fast-changing and competitive environment – particularly in the world of e-commerce and retail. We’ve been lucky enough to work with, support and learn from some really impressive brands, from fashion stalwarts to up-and-coming businesses. We want to use this experience to inspire small businesses at the start of their journey to reach their full potential.The start-up culture is truly energising – and coming from start-up roots ourself – we can’t wait to meet and hear what businesses from all over the UK are doing so we can help them to excel in the retail space.  The search for the UK’s smooothest stores, is on.”

Millie Mackintosh, ‘Smoooth Stores’ ambassador, commented:

“Beautiful design is one of life’s greatest pleasures. Hugo and I are constantly on the lookout for unique fashion and design brands that inspire us, so partnering with Klarna to discover the next big industry name is truly exciting. The UK is home to some of the world’s most creative talent, so we can’t wait to check out the entries and see what Britain’s innovative entrepreneurs have to offer.”

Hugo Taylor, ‘Smoooth Stores’ ambassador, commented:

“I love seeking out new trends to apply to my own design business. Living in London, there is literally inspiration around every corner, in the smallest of details. This country possesses creativity and innovation in abundance, so Millie and I can’t wait to meet the UK’s up and coming retail and fashion design businesses. I know first-hand what it’s like to launch a retail business from scratch, and how important it is for start-ups for be opportunistic. So if you think you’ve got what it takes – get applying – we look forward to meeting you!”


The launch video can be found here:


For further details, please visit:


The full T&Cs can be found on the website and the winner will be announced in April 2019.


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Press enquiries

Electra Gerolymbou/ Anna Lewis, firstlight PR

+44 20 3617 7240


About Klarna

It’s all about smoooth (yes, with 3 ooo’s). Klarna is Europe’s leading payments provider and a newly-licensed bank, which wants to revolutionise the payment experience for shoppers and merchants alike. Founded in Stockholm, Sweden, in 2005, the fintech unicorn gives online consumers the option to pay now, pay later or over time — offering a trusted, frictionless and smoooth checkout experience.

Klarna now works with 100,000 merchants, including ASOS, Topshop, H&M and JD Sports in the UK, to offer payment solutions to users across Europe and North America. Klarna has 2,000 employees and is active in 14 countries.