Julian Charles unveils digital success with 30% increase in online sales

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Julian Charles, the leading bedding and linen retailer, has today revealed further evidence of its successful turnaround with the results of its new digital strategy.

The retailer, which operates from 75 locations across the UK, unveiled that online sales had exploded 30% Year-to-Date (YTD) following the roll-out of its new e-commerce proposition.

The reopening of stores has also not slowed down growth in online retail. In September, online sales for the retailer were up 65% on the same time last year, with the management team expecting digital growth to continue to run at 25% over the next two years.

The successful online growth follows a period of intense investment in Julian Charles’ digital proposition from SKG Capital, the retail-focussed family office, which acquired the Manchester-based business in June 2020.

Julian Charles relaunched its website in November 2020 to improve usability, customer experience, and speed of orders. The relaunch was paired with the introduction of free delivery on all online products, the addition of an online self-service process to substantially streamline returning products, and the introduction of a virtual assistant to quickly address customer queries.

Over the last 12 months, the retailer has also entered more partnerships with affiliates in the marketing space, such as Blue Light Card, which offers discounts to emergency service professionals, to grow online sales.

The new website has also allowed Julian Charles to better showcase its range of products, as well as support the expansion of its product range to attract new customers and increase the size of the average digital order. Julian Charles has expanded its core bedding ranges as well as introduced new homewares products, including artificial flowers, kitchen accessories, candles, and scents.

The announcement follows hot on the heels of the news that SKG has taken Julian Charles to a break-even position from a £2.1 million loss prior to their acquisition. This is a result of their strategic focus on online, keeping a significant presence in the high street, and appealing to younger consumers.

In the six-month period to April 2021, the business clocked up revenues of £4.2 million, with online now totalling 20% of all sales, more than doubling from the previous year’s 9%. Similarly, sales of luxury bedding have seen a 45% increase in sales from last year, and new categories not previously stocked have seen a 600% increase when compared to last year.

Neil Taylor, partner at SKG Capital, said: “The success of Julian Charles’ digital expansion is reflected in the business’ strong online performance. By investing in the digital platform, extending our online range, and improving the customer experience across the board, Julian Charles is fully prepared to take advantage of the new retail landscape.”

Simon Peck, managing director at Julian Charles, said: “It’s great to see the increase in our online sales this year. We have emerged from the pandemic with significant opportunities for growth, both online and in store.

“The growth of our online proposition is introducing the historic Julian Charles brand to a new generation of customers for the very first time. We continue to focus on growing both our high-street and online presence across the UK over the coming months and years.”

Home furnishings brand Julian Charles started in 1947 as a small Lancashire textile business called Rectella Limited, growing into one of the largest manufacturers of home textiles in the UK and developing its retail arm under the Julian Charles brand.

The business trades nationally from 75 locations, including 41 leased stores and concessions in other retailers.