Topps Tiles today reported record full-year sales and said it had reached its target of taking £1 in every £3 spent in the tile market twelve months early after focusing on inspiration and convenience, both online and offline.
It said that while 99% of its shoppers visited one of its 346 stores at some point in the purchase journey, 70% used its website during that journey. It said online research was vital for customers looking for inspiration, as well as giving them a convenient way to investigate their project. Online payments are also convenient for customers who ordered in the store or by phone but want to pay remotely. "We strive to provide a consistent experience across all touchpoints including store visits, online and mobile," said Topps in its full-year results today. That's important, it said, because customer behaviour across its channels suggests to it that the online-only opportunity is very small. "Our ability to combine our website offering with the skilled advice and convenience available through a physical store presence gives us a significant competitive advantage over any pureplay online retailers of tiles," it said.
During the year the company launched a tile visualiser (pictured)
which enables shoppers to see either from the website and from an iPad in the store what their tiles would look like when in place, inspiring them to buy. This is all part of a strategy of outspecialising the specialists that it says has helped it reach its ambition of taking a third of the domestic tile market a year early.
Topps Tiles reported record sales of £212.2m in the 53 weeks to October 3 2015, 8.7% up on the same time last year. Like-for-like sales, which strips out the effect of store openings and closures, were up by 5.4%, and pre-tax profits of £17m were up by 1.8% on last year's £16.7m.
Chief executive Matthew Williams said: "I am pleased to report that Topps delivered a strong performance for the year, with our focus on convenience, inspiration and range driving sales to a new record and enabling us to hit our strategic goal of a one third share of the domestic tile market a year ahead of schedule. Our strategy of 'out-specialising the specialists' continues to be very effective and will remain at the heart of what we do as we seek to build on these foundations and target further profitable sales growth.
"We have made an encouraging start to the new financial year, with like for likes sales in the first eight weeks ahead by 3.3%, in line with our expectations. The group has entered the period in good shape and with a clear purpose, and we remain energised by the multiple growth opportunities open to the business in the years ahead."
Topps Tiles is a Top100 retailer in Internet Retailing research the IRUK Top500
, and is an Elite retailer in the Merchandising Performance Dimension.