Retail update
Beaumonts looks to overseas markets
Bob Beaumont (centre) surrounded by his Beaumont Tiles senior executive team
Bob Beaumont (centre) surrounded by his Beaumont Tiles senior executive team
 
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Australia's largest specialty homewares retailer House makes its debut in the UK market
HNN Sources
Bob Beaumont from Beaumont Tiles has been in the business for 50 years; and House is providing a different proposition for the UK customer with an omnichannel experience.
Global expansion for Beaumont Tiles

Australia's largest tile retailer, Beaumont Tiles - Bunnings is the second biggest player in tile retailing - plans to grow its footprint in the country from 115 stores to 180 outlets and take its brand overseas. Most of the 65 new Australian stores will be franchised businesses, according to CEO and executive chairman Bob Beaumont.

Mr Beaumont also believes home owners are spending an average of $20,000 on a full bathroom renovation which is helping to drive its robust growth. The company is importing 100 shipping containers full of tiles each week to keep up with demand, according to a report in Fairfax Media.

Beaumont Tiles generates about 50% of its business from the renovations market and the other half from new home and apartment construction.

However Mr Beaumont believes there has been slight cooling in the market and the company isn't likely to repeat the exceptional 12% growth in sales to $275 million that occurred in 2016-17. It was likely that rate of growth was the high watermark in this housing cycle.

Mr Beaumont expects it to remain solid even if interest rates begin to rise this year but said a tapering was occurring in NSW. He said:
Melbourne is still going gangbusters. We are seeing a slight tapering off in Sydney. Things are certainly coming off the boil a bit.

Despite an expected slowdown, Mr Beaumont told Inside Franchise Business, "there is plenty of opportunity within Australia, and opportunity for sales within each store to grow as well". Staff development is the key to strong sales growth, he added.
We already have very good marketing. I think we can develop our people to be stronger and better than they already are.

This year the retailer is launching an IT system that is a base for future business. Mr Beaumont said:
We plan to grow substantially over the next four to five years and then we can use this as a launch pad to extend the brand overseas.

There are currently no specific countries targeted for expansion, but the team working on exporting the brand have pinpointed countries such as Malaysia and India as well as North America (ie. Canada) as potential regions. He said:
We believe by bringing together the disparate parts of the business, particularly the IT this year, we can build on this package, transfer and adapt it. We will have to be flexible but strong enough to withstand any environment.

Mr Beaumont identifies the challenges ahead to be developing a system that takes a client through the sales process to delivery and payment, integrating all aspects. He said:
We also need to be able to plug in marketing, web, IT based training and payroll - any system in a different country. The big one is logistics but we're set up already with worldwide sourcing so its not such a big step there.
House homewares kicks off in the UK

Australian housewares retailer, House said its launch in the UK in April will see it initially open four stores and will be joined by a further two before the end of June.

The first branch has opened at Westgate shopping centre in Oxford, followed by Bracknell in Berkshire and Meadowhall shopping centre in Sheffield. There are also plans for House to trade directly to consumers via its own dedicated UK website.

It has ambitious plans to open 75 stores across the UK within three years. Steven Lew, founder and executive chairman of Global Retail Brands, owner of House, said:
Visiting a House store will not be a 'me-tool' experience. We have a strong store presence, with both favourite brands and so much never seen before product launches.
We are committed to showing our fresh approach to customer interaction. We want our customers to feel right at home when they come in to see us for cooking, dining and entertaining tips.

Mr Lew added that the company is an "extraordinary advocate" of training its in-store teams, and has already secured its first UK-based training kitchen and learning facility. He said:
Our teams must know our products 'inside and out' before they can interact in our stores with our customers...What better endorsement is there than a team member who uses the very product they are demonstrating to you?

Mr Lew said it is also revealed that it has won the exclusive rights to launch a number of international brands into the UK that are not yet available.

Related:
Europe update: Aussie retailer House in UK launch - HNN
HNN Sources


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