// Bensons for Beds steps up transformation plans one year on from refinancing deal
// New stores, refreshed website, product innovation and recruitment in the pipeline
// Bensons for Beds also appoints Nick Collard as its new chief commercial & digital officer
Bensons for Beds has said it will accelerate its turnaround strategy after sales bounced back in the wake of the easing of lockdown restrictions.
One year on from a refinancing deal, the bed and mattress retailer has reported significant pent-up demand from customers at its reopened 180-plus store network and continued strong online sales.
In addition, next week Bensons for Beds will launch a major TV advertising campaign – its biggest since the end of lockdown restrictions and the re-opening of non-essential stores.
Over the past three months since stores re-opened, Bensons for Beds said it has seen “very strong” sales with double-digit like-for-like growth compared to an undisrupted 2019.
The retailer added that it was making “good progress” on achieving a number of its transformation initiatives, and with the help of a strengthened senior management team it was “well-placed for the future”.
Among the key developments are the completion of store estate remodelling after becoming a standalone business since demerging from Harveys, which mainly constituted of moving Bensons for Beds onto the ground floor across the whole network.
The retailer also plans to relocate up to 11 stores to new premises, following the successful opening of new and relocated stores in Maidstone, Leeds, Macclesfield, Milton Keynes, Stockport and Crewe.
Last week, relocated Bensons for Beds stores opened in Paisley and Orpington in Kent, and this week sees a relocated store open in Southport.
Having invested in a new ecommerce platform, Bensons for Beds said it was on track to becoming an multichannel retailer.
It also highlighted renewed investment in marketing – beginning next week with a new £3 million TV and print advertising campaign.
Bensons for Beds is also investing in product innovation, such as a vegan-friendly mattress collection, and in new machinery at its manufacturing plant in Huntingdon.
The retailer said the acceleration strategy will lead to the creation of new roles right across the business, including an additional 45 jobs at Huntingdon.
Bensons for Beds also used its trading update to announce the recruitment of Nick Collard as its new chief commercial and digital officer.
He joins from Holland & Barrett where he was chief customer and digital officer and on the executive board.
Over the past 15 years he has also held board roles at DFS and Morrisons and had senior roles at Walgreens Boots Alliance.
Bensons for Beds chief executive Mark Jackson said: “The pent-up demand we’ve seen since our stores reopened gives us the confidence to accelerate our transformation programme and build on the progress made over the past year.
“I appreciate the hard work of the team – everyone has had to work enormously hard to cope with the impact of the pandemic and the temporary closures, but we emerge from restrictions in a strengthened position.
“The shareholder investment last June has allowed us to revamp our website, begin reshaping our store portfolio and invest in product innovation and we’ll step up the pace of change this year.”