North East furniture retailer, Barker & Stonehouse, to open first London store

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Barker & Stonehouse, one of the UK’s leading independent furniture retailers, is to open its first London store this summer. 

The new £1m showroom will be in Battersea in South West London and is scheduled to open in early July 2013. The new store will be the company’s ninth since it began trading in Stockton on Tees in 1946. 

The move by the established retailer, which has its headquarters in Middlesbrough, comes seven months after the launch of its new flagship store in Knaresborough.

Barker and Stonehouse Battersea will create 28 new jobs and will be headed up by Imran Tai, currently the store manager of the Nottingham branch.  

The new Battersea showroom occupies 25,000sq ft across two floors in one of the most historic buildings south of the Thames – the old Price’s candle factory. Established in 1830, Price’s transformed the candle industry by bringing inexpensive light to the working classes of Victorian Britain.  

The company also holds the Royal Warrant and has supplied candles for many state occasions, including the funeral of Sir Winston Churchill, the coronation of Queen Elizabeth and the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer.  A selection of Price’s candles will also remain on display and be available for purchase in the new Barker and Stonehouse store under the ‘Farris’ name, in recognition of the building’s history.

Barker & Stonehouse managing director, James Barker, said: “We’re really excited about this new store, we feel the time is right to expand to the south and we’re confident that we’ve got a lot to offer the London audience. We’ve invested heavily in developing our own exclusive ranges so we know we’ve got something different to offer customers.

“We’re delighted to have found such a great building for the store. Apart from the beautiful architecture it has great natural light and its own car parking. There was also a twist of fate as we discovered a North East connection while renovating the building. Our head office is in Middlesbrough and the steel in the building’s interior is from Middlesbrough-company Dorman Long. It was a nice surprise and we’ll be retaining as many features of the original iron framework as possible.”

The new Battersea store will sell furniture from the pioneering Trees4Trees sustainable forestry foundation which James Barker played a leading role in setting up. The store will also feature low energy heating and an eco lighting system specially designed by the company.