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Habitat plans a comeback amid the housing boom

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Furnishings retailer Habitat is hoping to cash in on the British housing boom with an ambitious plan to expand. 

The company, which was bought by Argos and Homebase owner Home Retail Group after falling into administration four years ago, is planning to increase its floor space by 25%. Habitat began the financial year with just 35 concessions, based mainly in Homebase stores. It currently has 65, and is planning to open up another 15 between now and the end of December. 

Habitat MD Clare Askem said that the company aims to have a presence across the UK, and is also considering international expansion. 

“Habitat is accessible to everybody and we appeal to people who are confident about their tastes. There will be ongoing investment into the brand. Now is a good time as retail spend is growing again and people feel more confident to take on bigger projects in the home…” 

In addition to its wider expansion, Habitat is investing £1m to refurbish its flagship Tottenham Court Road store. Its rival, John Lewis, recently spent £14m revamping its Oxford Street store after strong homeware, furniture and flooring sales and MD Andy Street claims it will take over IKEA as the UK’s biggest furniture retailer. 

Habitat also plans to fight back against digital competitors with a £1m overhaul of its website to offer more delivery options. Such a move may prove crucial as more shoppers are lured online, particularly with events like Black Friday on the horizon. 

The company collapsed in 2011, largely as a result of the 2008 financial crisis, but was bought out by Home Retail in a £24.5m deal. The remaining 30 stores were sold. 

 

Published on Monday 07 September by Philip Gallagher

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