Retail Focus with Home World

Grant Berry, owner of Home World – Mattress & Bed Centres, talks about hard work, why its recent refurbishment is paying off and potential expansion plans in the future.

Meet Grant

I’m the owner and Managing Director of Home World. I’m in charge of buying, marketing and the day-to-day running of the business.

Can you share some recent investments the company has made?

In 2023 we invested £80k in upgrading our large 12,000sqft store. This included a new roof, new LED lighting, new carpets and signage. We also bought a new bigger Delivery Van, which has enabled us to now solely do our own deliveries to give better customer service, rather than using delivery contractors. The customer service is far better and we are experiencing great feedback since this transition. Plus, the new vans look fantastic too!

We also dropped sofas because we were doing well with beds, then we brought more beds in and started doing better, so we dropped dining and included more beds. It’s been a great success and it’s working well. The new signage was introduced to reflect beds only, and we repainted the interior and exterior.

We also installed a commercial heating system to help with heating costs too. The refurbishment process took around 15 months to complete and with the internal layout now more focussed on beds, which includes a wide range of products from economy to premium, we’re now in a position to offer the whole market not just one end of it.

What future plans do you have in the pipeline?

We are going to give the store front an extra uplift to help with the message that we have moved slightly up market and that we now specialise in Mattresses & Beds, from when we were selling mostly cheap furniture.

Also, now we’ve made things simpler by specialising, we are looking into the possibility to open another store as we have a model we can roll out. We still believe in bricks & mortar, with an internet backing.

What is your mission?

To be the most loved bed retailer in the area, selling economy to premium all under one roof. I started my first shop when I was 20 years old and now, I’m 55, so I’ve actually been in the furniture trade for 35 years.

Strong independents offering things the web can’t, can make good money. Providing the feel factor of the product, the reassurance of well-trained salespeople, good customer facing service and local loyalty puts us ahead of online.

On sustainability, what is your business doing on this topic?

Last year, when we upgraded the roof, we had the latest insulation fitted to help reduce heating costs and usage. Also, the LED lighting we had fitted reduces the electric costs and usage, helping the planet. We have upgraded one of our vehicles to electric and we will see how that goes then look to upgrade the others to electric in the future.

How has recent business been?

Since we moved into specialising, we have found we are happier, as specialising brings its own benefits; focus, image – higher perception of authority, ability to generate expertise, smaller learning curve, higher conversions, better networking.

There are pros & cons for & against specialising, but I prefer it. Cool Gel is working well on mattresses too at the moment, while Grey is still the top seller on bases and frames.

What would you change in the industry?

To be honest, we are happy with our current suppliers, but gone are the days when agents/reps used to call and try to sell you new accounts with new suppliers.

I’d like to see more show vans calling round after booking an appointment. Shows are good for networking etc but it’s hard to get quality time with suppliers at the shows, they are usually busy running around.

What challenges do you currently face and how are you overcoming these?

The internet can be a friend but it can also be an enemy. We de-brand our products to prevent sales being lost to the internet as customers sometimes use shops as a free testing station then order online from someone else who sells the product cheaper. If our supplier doesn’t de-brand for us, then we do it inhouse. We don’t need brands to add credibility.

Do you have any staff you would like to pay special thanks or recognition to and why?

We have built a great team, everyone in it is valuable. Just like a football team needs manager, a captain, attackers, defenders and a goalkeeper to win. We need people who do different roles but all pull together for the team to win. We have a winning team now and we’re being successful together.

Why do you think customers choose your business?

We offer a massive range from economy to premium under one roof helping customers decide there and then themselves. Marketeers that say you should target one area of the market and explicitly target them, this is a sure-fire way to patronise and alienate all the intelligent population.

Appealing to a made-up stereotype is what someone who is pumped up with rubbish from marketing courses does. We let the customer hone our plans, not others that don’t live and breathe our brand.

We also offer quick delivery and we have the product feel factor, as well as staff reassuring customers, all of which the internet doesn’t have.

Final thought…

I’ve been retailing furniture for approx. 35 years and the future looks as bright as it ever has done for those willing to work hard. The fundamentals are still the same.

Save this article for later

You can revisit this article if you save it as favourite news!

Leave a Comment


Keiran Hewkin, founder and CEO of sofa-in-a-box brand Swyft, talks about their recent ownership transition and what it means for the business moving forward....