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Online entrepreneur bucks the downward trend

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Serial entrepreneur John Mearman founded Dotshops in 1994. The firm is an umbrella organisation for three online retailers: Sinksdirect.co.uk, one of the UK’s largest online sink stores; Sweetsncandy.co.uk, selling nostalgic confectionery; and the brand new Tradestores.co.uk, a one-stop-shop for tradespeople to buy their plumbing and electrical supplies.

Despite challenging trading condition, Sinksdirect.co.uk has seen record sales over the past 12 months. Takings in May 2008 were a staggering 93 per cent up on the same period last year. And average sales growth has topped 53 per cent– not bad considering the retail industry has been bemoaning a fall off in consumer spending.

“Consumers are making more considered purchasing decisions,” says Mearman. “And they’re buying more online because it’s cheaper and items are delivered.

“It hasn’t hurt us that the housing market is going through a tough time. People can’t afford to move, so they’re doing up their houses instead. What’s the first thing you go for? A new kitchen or bathroom. The home improvement market is really strong, even with big players like B&Q reporting losses. If your overheads are low, it’s a strong market.”

Dotshops will turn over £3.5m this year, with profits of £250,000. Mearman is expecting a further 60 per cent growth in 2009, and 35 per cent thereafter. That equals a healthy turnover of £22m in five years.

Not bad for a recession, hey?

Related articles“Bring on the recession! It’s good for business”Healthcare entrepreneur: “Credit crunch? What credit crunch?” Home and away: Views on the recessionRecession-proof your business: sell smarterThere’s an upside to the downturn!

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