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Dreams, Arighi Bianchi, Argos and Otty Sleep share Bed Show Awards retail honours

Dreams, Arighi Bianchi, Argos and Otty Sleep were named as bed retailers of the year at last night’s Bed Show Awards.

Scooping Large Bed Retailer of the Year (over £5m beds turnover) was Dreams. With like for like sales and profits both up in the period under consideration – it was named number one in the Sunday Times profit ‘Track 100’ back in April – excellent customer feedback scores and impressive initiatives in communications both externally and internally, this company was a stand-out for the judges this year.

Bensons for Beds claimed the runner-up spot. The judges liked the company’s innovative use of virtual reality technology, and its sound marketing, based on extensive customer research backed up by a clear strategy.

Entries were strong for the Bed Retailer of the Year (under £5m beds turnover) category with companies from up and down the country entering into the awards.

Winner of this year’s award went to Macclesfield retailer Arighi Bianchi, which has been selling beds for 115 years. It was chosen for its commitment to ongoing comprehensive staff training, the praise from its bed suppliers and its customer service.

Kingsbridge retailer Peter Betteridge The Bed Expert came second for having an impressive 12 months which saw the company rebrand, introduce its own label product range, receive a number of customer service awards and export to over 20 countries with a website available in seven languages.

New for this year were the Large Online Bed Retailer and Small Online Bed Retailer categories.

Picking up Large Online Bed Retailer of the Year was Argos (pictured). The judges were impressed with its continued growth in a challenging environment but also its commitment to maintaining market share and profile plus driving digital innovation.

The runner-up for the award was Land of Beds, which was highly commended for its transition from a historic high street retailer into a fully integrated, profitable multi-channel retailer with over 60% of sales made online. The company has embraced technology to future proof the business and is thriving in this new digital era.

The winner of the Small Online Bed Retailer of the Year was Otty Sleep. The judges praised the profitable business for being built with no external investment and creating its own identity to help it stand out from the crowd. It has developed a competitively priced product which has won a Which? Best Buy award and has ambitious plans to expand into Europe.

Hügge was the judge’s runner-up. Some 200 crowd funders helped the company get off the ground in less than 24 hours and exceed first year targets for net revenue. Product differentiation (and a bag rather than a box) and an emphasis on customer service is at the heart of the business which is also eyeing markets overseas.

The awards are judged on performance over the period of June 2017-June 2018. The awards were judged by Peter Mallinson, AIS merchandise director – home; Roy Beagent, Minerva Group business manager; Bernard Eaton, Greenwood Retail md; Richard de Melim, Furnishing Report editor and Jessica Alexander, NBF executive director.

‘Congratulations to all our finalists and winners – who are all a reflection of the very best in this business,’ said Tony Lisanti, NBF president.