Glasgow retailer set to floor new markets

SCOTLAND’S largest independent flooring retailer is poised for expansion with the support of a £1.5 million funding package from Bank of Scotland.

Hillington’s Direct Flooring has acquired new premises in Perth and Glasgow, increasing the firm’s retail space by 20,000 sq. ft. and its headcount by 10 per cent.

The business will move from its highest-performing rented retail unit on Glasgow’s London Road to larger premises opposite.

The new Perth unit, Direct Flooring’s first in Perthshire, is currently under construction and will open to customers in Spring 2020.

A portion of both new properties will be leased to other retailers, providing an additional revenue stream for the business.

Founded 20 years ago by brothers John and Scott Semple, Direct Flooring specialises in laminate and solid hardwood flooring. The business currently operates 12 trading units across Scotland and an online store.

Following the move, the family-run firm expects its turnover to grow by £4m over the next three years, an increase of 15 per cent.

The growing demand for the business’s products is partly due to consumers increasingly using social media website Pinterest. Some 72% of its members use the online platform to design and create their own interior design looks before buying products in shops*.

John Semple, director of Direct Flooring, said: “Customers are coming to us with images of their dream home that they’ve created on websites like Pinterest. Having a physical presence on Scottish high streets, where customers can visit us and turn their online designs into a reality, is extremely important. 

“The site in Glasgow will upgrade and secure the location of our highest performing retail unit and the Perth store will let us expand into a brand new area of Scotland.

“Bank of Scotland has been by our side for almost 18 years. The help it has given us to acquire these new premises and realise our long-term ambitions for the business has been invaluable.”

Derek Weir, relationship manager at Bank of Scotland, said: “E-commerce is now a crucial consideration for the majority of retailers, but it’s encouraging to see Direct Flooring continue to place equal importance on the experience it gives customer in-store.

“I’ve been the business’ relationship manager for more than 12 years, so it was very rewarding to tailor a funding package that matched their unique objectives for the business. This holistic, relationship-led approach to supporting firms is key to delivering our commitment to helping Scotland prosper.  

“This year we’ve committed to lend up to £1.6bn to help businesses from every sector in Scotland to achieve their ambitions, whether that’s to scale up, invest in the latest technology or, like in Direct Flooring’s case, expand into new markets.”

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