Retail winners of Interiors Monthly Awards 2022 revealed
The winners of the retail categories of the Interiors Monthly Awards 2022 have been revealed.
The winners are:
Best Furniture Retailer (1-3 stores): Housing Units
From its origins in 1947 as a builders’ merchant, Housing Units has long been regarded as one of the country’s prime destinations for the home. The Failsworth, Manchester company is constantly evolving – physically and online - with recent investments including a furniture and accessories department, a fireplace department and an area devoted to furniture and furnishings for smaller spaces, reflecting today’s new homes: Modern Living.
‘Much has changed since 1947 but Housing Units still remains a family business that cares and is committed to providing great service, quality, choice and value. Home is still very strongly at the heart of what we do, and we are constantly searching to bring our customers The Perfect Everything for the Home,’ says Nick Fox, Housing Units ceo.
Best Flooring Retailer (1-3 stores): Woolton Carpets
In common with many flooring retailers in the past year, Woolton Carpets enjoyed a bumper 2021/22, with sales up a quarter: the end of year fitting diary closed in mid-November, such was demand.
Run by the Griffin family, headed by owner Tony, long-serving staff are key for the Liverpool retailer, with 12 of its 15 staff having been there for at least 17 years. ‘We’re all in it together, if a job needs doing, go and do it. We’re a team, we have no bosses. We all know what we’re talking about, if we don’t know now we never will,’ says Griffin.
In the past two years the store has seen huge growth in LVT sales and has reduced its overseas buying of carpet as it looked to strengthen its supply chain with a focus on UK manufacturers.
2022 marks the company’s 60th anniversary, and three decades since Griffin bought the company, 17 years after he joined from school.
Best Furniture Retailer (4+ stores): Holloways of Ludlow
Offering contemporary designs that are functional and will last a lifetime has always been at the centre of the Holloways of Ludlow business. The company has been run by Mark Holloway since 2002, but was founded in 1985 by his stepfather Bob Dickinson as Dickinson’s Architectural Antiques.
This year saw the opening of branches in Bath and Winchester, as it expanded outside of London and Kent.
‘We believe hugely in showrooms and know that our customers still want to touch and feel our products and interact with our team of experts in person. One thing that we’ve increasingly noticed among customers is the desire to shop locally. Most of the UK has been underserved with high-end design furniture; our approach is about bringing great design closer to home,’ says Holloway.
Best Flooring Retailer (4+ stores): Kristoffersen Carpets & Flooring
For Norrie Kristoffersen quality and service have been at the core of Kristoffersen Carpets & Flooring since he opened in Portobello, east of Edinburgh in 1993. Today the company has reached six stores across the city and surrounding area, extending into the Scottish Borders. Last September it incorporated local retailer Cochrane’s into its portfolio, extending its reach to East Lothian.
‘The trouble is, great service is often so hard to find. Of course, no-one likes going into a shop and getting ignored, but, it’s even worse when you get badgered by aggressive assistants, desperate to flog the latest “special offer”. Most of us just want a wee bit of help when we ask for it. From a sales person that’s knowledgeable, professional and friendly. And we want to be able to get that kind of service in our local area, without travelling for hours on end,’ he says.
Best Online Retailer: Mattress Online
If any sector had a ‘good lockdown’ it was bed etailers. With stores closed, shoppers turned online to buy a bed or mattress they were probably spending more time in. Mattress Online proved it wasn’t just a one season wonder, with higher average orders, sales growth and top online reviews continuing once high street competition returned. It joined the high street this year with a store in Skipton, with plans for nine more across the country over the next five years as sales approach £40m. As it approaches its 20th anniversary it has been busy strengthening its senior management team.