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IREU Top500 The Customer Report: 2018

IREU Top500 The Customer Report: 2018

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Strategy of multichannel convenience and inspiration pays off for Topps Tiles

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Topps Tiles says a strategy focused on offering its customers multichannel convenience, while inspiring them to buy its wider range across sales channels, is paying off.

The retailer, a Top100 trader in IRUK Top500 research, reported group revenue of £215m in the year to October 1. That's 1.3% up on the same time last year. Pre-tax profits of £20m were 17.6% up on the £17m reported last time.

Matthew Williams, chief executive said: "I am pleased to report that Topps has delivered a strong performance for the year, with our unrivalled combination of range, inspiration and convenience resonating with more customers and driving sales to a new record. Sales growth, combined with gross margin improvements and strong cost controls, generated a 10% increase in profits and a 17% increase in dividend.

"Like-for-like sales in the first eight weeks of the new financial year were ahead by 0.8%. Our proven strategy, well-invested business and market leading position, leave Topps well-placed for further progress in the year ahead."

Topps Tiles' strategy focuses on range, inspiration, convenience and people. It has focused its range on tiles, widening the choice on offer, and promoting its own brand range. It says inspiring customers through a "best in class customer service is essential in helping our customers make informed choices". That service spans both the store and online, where new innovations include personalised digital brochures that can be created online or at an in-store consultation and are then emailed out.

Convenience, it says in today's full-year results, is "a vital element of our customers' decision to shop with us". "Our scale, expertise and ability to integrate all of our channels to market seamlessly is an important source of competitive advantage," it said. Some 99% of its customers visit a Topps store during their shopping journey with the retailer. The trader has therefore focused on "optimising" the store estate, with a net increase of 13 new stores during the year taking its estate to 336. Another 15 were refitted. At the same time, it said, "almost all of our customers use our website at some point in their journey, as well as visiting a store". It has therefore improved its tile visualiser over the last year, adding new rooms at home and commercial premises from restaurants to cafes and hair salons to the options available. Quick edit functionality has made it easier for customers to adapt plans, while transactional capability means that they can buy from the visualiser.

The retailer also outlined the way that it invests in its people, offering "market levels of basic pay and market-beating levels of reward" alongside in-service training.

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