Bensons for Beds returns to profit 18 months after rescue deal, plans 35 new stores

Bensons for Beds returns to profit less than 18 months after rescue deal
Bensons for Beds returns to profit less than 18 months after rescue deal
// Bensons for Beds returned to the black, posting a £1.6 million operating profit for the five months for 30 September, 2021
// The retailer said omnichannel investments had driven growth and plans to open or relocate 35 stores in 2022

Bensons for Beds has returned to profit less than 18 months after it was rescued in a pre-pack deal by Alteri as it pushes ahead with new 35 store openings or relocations.

The retailer, which was bought in a pre-pack deal in June 2020, added that its transformation plan had gained further momentum after strong Christmas trading when like-for-likes over the seven weeks to 15 January rose 10.5% on pre-Covid 2019 levels.

Bensons for Beds returned to the black in the five months to 30 September, 2021, when it delivered an operating profit of £1.6 million against sales of £101.9 million. This compares to an operating loss of £24.9 million against sales of £148.4 million for the 10 months to 30 April, 2021.

Profitability was driven by Bensons’ investment in omnichannel, which includes a new ecommerce platform, further product innovation and an acceleration in store relocations and refurbishments.

The retailer achieved “strong double digit” online sales growth compared to 2019 and plans to invest in further improving its store estate in the year ahead, through new openings, relocations and refurbishments.

It plans to open 35 new stores and relocations in 2022, the first of which will open in Telford’s Forge Retail Park on 28 January.

This follows eight new Bensons for Beds store openings, which includes five relocations, in December alone.

Bensons said its customer order book reached record levels in the autumn as it achieved double digit sales growth from the August bank holiday through to its post-Christmas peak. Bensons for Beds revealed that the strong performance had continued into the new year.

READ MORE: Bensons for Beds appoints new chief operating officer to drive transformation

Bensons for Beds chairman Ian Shepherd, who was appointed in May last year, said delivering a profit was a “big step forward for the company”.

“We have made huge progress on our transformation plans which are built around turning Bensons for Beds into a true omnichannel retailer.”

The retailer also flagged that it had invested in new machinery at its manufacturing plant in Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire as part of efforts to source more products in the UK to cut lead times and protect the company from the global shipping delays that are being experienced across retail.

Last year, Bensons sourced around 65% of its products from the UK, with around 50% manufactured at the Huntingdon site.

Shepherd said: “The business has worked hard to minimise disruption from the impact of Covid-19, on our colleagues and customers and on our supply chains. Navigating this period has been a huge challenge, and the board is grateful for the support of our suppliers, colleagues, and shareholders.

“Though some macroeconomic uncertainty remains, the business is well positioned to push ahead with its transformation and to deliver the growth we have set for ourselves.”

Bensons for Beds chief executive Mark Jackson added: “While our return to profitability is an important milestone, it’s simply a consequence of doing the right thing by customers.

“Our transformation is not yet complete. In the year ahead we’ll keep focused on our customers, on how they want to shop with us – online and offline – and on making their experience as they invest in their sleep, as easy as it can be.”

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