Matalan delves into the bathroom sector with new online-only venture

The retailer’s latest endeavour includes rolling out a separate brand focussed on selling bathroom fixtures and furniture. Named Matalan Direct, the subsidiary brand will offer home items yet to be included in the existing accessories range found in its bricks and mortar stores. It will be overseen by former Epiphany co-founder and entrepreneur Shane Quigley.

The decision for the venture to be digitally exclusive reflects the company’s improving online performance, with its figures suggesting that sales had increased by 32.9 per cent in 2014. Its click-and-collect orders also now make up 50 per cent of sales.

This, the company announced, is part of its plan to become a complete home furnishings and improvements destination . 

Managing director Jason Hargreaves suggested that Matalan was looking to cater for its existing 12.5m customer base, who he classified as being “highly engaged by the brands successful and fast-expanding homeware offering”. 

Read more about the online-only space:

He added that the creation of Matalan Direct was a natural expansion as it would complement the retailer’s “Made for Modern Families” proposition. By using an online platform, Matalan Direct will be able to offer an expanding range of products without the restrictions of in-store on-boarding constraints, he said. 

Hargreaves claimed his target was to give customers a greater variety of products, as well as offering different purchasing methods.

The new venture comes after it began a £492m debt refinancing programme. The retailer refinanced its debt by issuing two bonds worth 342m and 150m, due for repayment in 2019 and 2020 respectively. 

According to Matalan’s CFO, Stephen Hill, the refinancing strengthened the company’s financial position, providing it with a longer-term and more flexible capital structure that “underpins the growth plans” for the business.

The move into the bathroom market also precedes Matalan’s decision to axe clothing line Sporting Pro, which it launched in 2013. Hargreaves explained that the company had done so in order to focus on promoting sports brand Souluxe, including the launch of shop-in-shops for the label.

Image: Shutterstock

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