Nationwide bed and mattress retailer Bensons for Beds today reported robust sales for the last three months of 2022, driven by investment in its stores and online platform and following leadership changes made in the summer.
Like-for-like sales in the quarter to 31 December 2022, rose by seven per cent, compared to the same period a year earlier, despite toughening economic conditions as customers reacted to the pressure on household budgets.
The business has also made a positive start to its peak trading period, starting on Boxing Day, with sales continuing in line with the trends seen in the Christmas quarter.
Across the quarter, Bensons saw a 41 per cent growth in online sales, with digital transactions now running at double pre-pandemic levels, reflecting the investments made in omnichannel capability and leadership.
The quarter also saw an encouraging early performance from eve Sleep which Bensons acquired in October.
Bensons relaunched the evesleep.co.uk website just two weeks after acquiring the brand, in time for the peak sales season. The relaunch included its six best-selling mattress ranges which accounted for the majority of eve Sleep sales prior to Bensons’ acquisition.
Bensons is backed by Alteri Investors, the European retail sector specialist, and became a standalone business in 2020. In August 2022, Bensons secured additional funding from Alteri to drive its growth strategy and transformation plans through investment in stores and digital developments.
During the year it made a series of changes to its senior leadership team, including the appointment of Nick Collard as chief executive in June.
Store sales growth was supported by higher transaction values, compensating for weaker footfall in a tough economic market.
Following the opening and relocation of 18 stores in the previous 12 months, Bensons was trading from 168 stores by the end of 2022. It has set out its goal of growing the network to 180-190 stores over the next two years.
Investment in expanding and updating its store estate included December’s relocation of its store in Romford, Greater London, returning to Cannock in Staffordshire and a refit of its Cardiff Gate Retail Park store.
The 41 per cent growth in digital sales, against strong comparative sales a year earlier, reflects the investment in digital infrastructure and talent over the last year.
During 2022, Bensons’ continued investment in its digital capability included the rollout of a new customer data platform, across digital and physical channels to improve conversion and customer acquisition.
There have also been significant developments in Bensons overall platform to enhance performance and improve customers’ pre-purchase experience.
Bensons is investing significantly to build a portfolio of brands, the majority produced in-house at its own manufacturing centre in Cambridgeshire, catering to every sleep need.
That portfolio includes Slumberland, which has been crafting a superior night’s sleep for over 100 years here in the UK. Slumberland is the proud owner of Good Housekeeping Institute Awards for its Airstream Memory, Naturals, Eco Solutions and Rollo mattresses.
In Autumn 2022, it also launched its new Simply by Bensons range to give to give consumers a great night sleep from only 15p per sleep. The affordable, feel-good quality range features mattresses, divans and – launching next month, bed frames – all with a free five-year guarantees.
Bensons also recently launched a new and exclusive range of beds and mattresses under its heritage Staples & Co brand which has been re-inventing sleep since 1895. The new ranges are designed to give customers a wide choice of comfort, storage and style features, with over 28,000 potential combinations.
The Staples & Co divan bases and Artisan Collection mattresses are hand-crafted to order in the UK at Bensons’ dedicated British Kite Mark quality accredited factory in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire.
Bensons is the exclusive home of iGel Advance, mattresses with a patented Graphene Technology, that helps customers regulate their body temperature to stay comfortable throughout the night.
As well as its exclusive in-house brands, in August Bensons also it unveiled its first collection of luxury mattresses from leading British maker Hypnos to broaden choice for customers.
Since March 2022, all Bensons for Beds stores have provided a bespoke “your bed, your way” service – backed up by an extensive training programme – where expert colleagues help customers find the right bed and mattress for them and their budget, with the help of its sleeppro technology.
The Alteri investment is helping to enhance its logistics network including distribution centres and its Huntingdon manufacturing site at a time when the supply chain has faced interruption and delays to supplies from Europe and the Far East and significant inflation in materials costs.
Nick Collard, Bensons chief executive officer, said: “Our performance over the quarter provides a good indication that our investments across the business are beginning to bear fruit.
“We have made big steps towards our goal of becoming a market leading omnichannel retailer reflected in the rise in sales at an important time of the year. Although we expect the market to remain challenging, we remain well placed to navigate the year ahead.
“I’d like to thank the dedication and hard work of all our colleagues as we continue to transform the business as we invest online, in stores and in our ranges.”