Interiors Monthly Awards 2023: retailer winners revealed
The retailer winners of the Interiors Monthly Awards 2023 can now be revealed.
The winners listed below were voted for by you.
Full detail of many of the winners can be found in the August issue. Click HERE to read it.
Best Furniture Retailer (1-3 stores): Lenleys Home
In 1936 Leonard Watts and Stanley Adsett tossed a coin to decide on the name Lenleys or Stannards. Since then three generations of the Watts family have run the Kent retailer, with Leonard’s granddaughter Lavina now at the helm. ‘Our brand has stood the test of time because every generation has had insight to provide the products, service and advice that customers want and need. We have had the confidence to innovate where needed, bringing in new styles and new ways of retailing while always ensuring Lenleys’ offer remains relevant in a competitive market,’ she says.
‘I want to carry on the great work started by my grandad and dad, and am excited to bring my style to the brand and to give customers something different from other high street stores.’
Best Flooring Retailer (1-3 stores): Dentons
Since 1969 Dentons Carpets has been responding to the flooring needs of the people of Cambridge. The Smith family owned retailer has always had service at its core, as its customers testify: ‘Thank you for your excellent quality service, a job well done’; ‘I have been very impressed throughout by the high standards, from your dealing with my order to the fitting, ,’ and ‘An excellent service with the supply and fit of your flooring. Your fitters were polite and conscientious and have done a great job.’
This is reflected in the views of its suppliers (who vote in this category): ‘Dentons take great pride and joy in their business and service. Overall, a pleasure to deal with’ and ‘Possibly the nicest and most professional people I deal with.’
Best Flooring Retailer (4+ stores): Tapi
Tapi saw a £10m turnaround in profitability in the year to 25 December 2021. A pre-tax loss of £5,261,582 become a £5,433,341 profit as sales grew by 37.7% to £137.4m. In 2019 the loss was £17.5m. After increasing gross margin by 3.3 points to 59.5% in 2020, it rose by a further 4.8 points to 64.3%.
In common with all retailers, its results and performance were impacted by the pandemic; government support, including business rate relief and furlough payments; and rent concessions. Support rose by £1.08m to £3.849m but in contrast store lease costs rose from £16.4m to £21.89m as Covid-related rent concessions fell from £5.4m to £1.86m. Staff numbers grew from 695 to 841. Since then the chain has continued its expansion, with store numbers reaching 176, leaving room for further expansion towards its target of 250 branches. And where it does not have an outlet, it has invested in its fleet of mobile showrooms.
Best Furniture Retailer (4+ stores): DFS
DFS has always insisted that when times are tough it prospers. And this has been the case in 2023. The group – DFS and Sofology – says that market share rose to 38% in the year to 25 June as it outperformed the market. Like-for-like sales dropped by 4% in the period, in a market it estimates has dropped by 15%-20%. It described the upholstery market as ‘significantly worse than expected’ in recent months but still anticipates profits of just above £30m. The group’s scale allowed it to absorb supply chain price increases by passing on costs on a pound-for-pound basis, rather than with a mark-up. This increased its value perception and it was able to cut its IFC offer from four years to three. It has continued to revamp its stores, rather than delaying investment. In-house manufacturing and delivery, a focus on online and widening its brand approach has set it apart from rivals.
Best Online Retailer: Mattress Online
Mattress Online has shown that the ecommerce boom seen during the pandemic lockdown was no fluke, with sales of almost £29m in 2021/2022 and profits of more than £2m.
The company has long put service at the heart of its operations, both for customers and staff – and this is reflected in its online reviews. Trustpilot averages at 4.8/5, with 95% of the 58,553 reviews giving it five or four stars. Plans for physical showrooms have paused but it continues to see the benefits of investment in staff and a revamped website.