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Chair specialist HSL is on track to reach the 50 store landmark by the end of this year, according to chief financial officer Ian Jones.


Mr Jones, who joined the manufacturer and retailer at the turn of the year, says the privately owned company will continue opening at a rate of nearly a store a month until the end of this year and beyond.


Its July launch at Oxford brought showroom numbers to 46, with its 47th to open in Truro in August and the 48th — in Ipswich — to open in September, before the firm passes its half century before the end of the year. Swansea is another city on the radar for 2015.


“The business opened 10 stores in 2013; 11 last year, and will open another 11 in the current year,” Mr Jones said.

Batley based HSL — which has its own manufacturing operation but also sources from external suppliers — specialises in adjustable furniture, ranging from standalone upholstered chairs to recliners, riser recliners and adjustable beds.


“We plan to continue to open at a rate of a store a month — usually the first Thursday — in the short to medium term, so we should pass 60 stores next year and perhaps 70 the year after. But we are constantly reviewing the situation. The business is funding its growth through its own generated cash flows, with no external investment.”


New showrooms will be consistent with those it has opened to date, being around 2,500sqft in size and located in “stress-free” locations with at least half a dozen parking spots. It tries to find retail sites that avoid conventional locations such as high streets and retail parks.


“Our customer base typically falls into two groups: those over 65-years-old with mobility issues, and what we call the influencers, often their daughter or son. They don’t like to be flustered, so we tend to avoid opening showrooms in areas where people are rushing around, nipping in and out of Halfords.”


The firm will also roll out a home consultation service nationwide in the autumn.


Accounts for 2014 will be filed at Companies House in the next few days, and will reflect the continued growth of the business, he added. HSL made £1.7m before tax on sales of £26.1m back in 2013, with sales in 2014 expected to have risen nearly 40 per cent to just under £36m.


“We are journeying through some exciting times right now,” Mr Jones said.




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