24 May 2024, 17:44
By Furniture News Jun 14, 2022

Upgrades equal uplifts at Sussex Beds

Sussex Beds is on a mission to open a new store every quarter for the next three years (before significantly accelerating that already-ambitious rollout), and this estate growth coincides with a refurbishment process across its existing portfolio. Project-managing this new-store, new-look implementation is operations director John Rayment …

At what stage is your store upgrade programme? 

All the stores are now up to the same standard regarding carpet, colour of walls and layout. This was completed during the last lockdown, so there was minimal disruption. Costs were minimal, too – just paint and PoS printing. 

What drove you to start your overhaul journey?

New stores back in 2017/18 were painted in a certain way to highlight different bed ranges within them. Over the next 2-3 years, all existing stores had money spent on renewing carpets and paint.

What input did you seek from external parties? Conversely, how much in-house talent did you bring to bear? 

The new stores use contractors who we’ve gathered together over the last two years of expansion. For the six stores we improved during lockdowns – Portslade, Newhaven, Uckfield, Haywards Heath, Hailsham and Worthing – we used our own team from each store and head office, keeping costs to a minimum.

Since reinventing your first store, have you stuck fairly rigidly to the original plan, or has the format evolved with learning? 

New stores and planning are evolving each project, with much more detail for the contractors. The refurbs are a simpler process, with plans produced and paint purchased.

Have you seen any tangible benefits since overhauling your store format? 

Customer reaction and overall comments have been very good, and when they might go from store to store there’s a story and an identical appearance. Our Newhaven store in particular has seen footfall, conversion and turnover rise since reopening last April, highlighting the importance of a great-looking fit-out.

What advice would you give to a retailer considering their own store overhaul journey? 

Look into current colour trends, and visit competitors to get an idea of how they look. Then cost up your project for internal processes, and also price up externally, to compare costs and the quality of the end product.

Whether it takes the form of a light refurbishment or a completely new store, delivering fresh shopping formats is essential to keeping any bricks-and-mortar retail offer engaging and successful. Read about other retail journeys in June's Furniture News.

Pictured: Sussex Beds’ new Dover store

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