Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 July 2014

Martin Phillips rolls out the red carpet at new Belfast shop

Managing director Donald Mercer

Martin Phillips flooring firm, which recently opened its seventh store, on Belfast's Ravenhill Road, says it is managing to buck the trend in the retail sector after experiencing its busiest June in three years.

The company says location has played a key role in the current sales growth, with the new Ravenhill store attracting young professionals from south Belfast.

Celebrating 30 years of trading in Northern Ireland, the well-known local brand opened its first store in Newtownards in 1981 and has since expanded to Downpatrick, Lisburn, Belfast, Carrickfergus, Banbridge and Ballymena. The company employs 35 full-time staff and also sub-contracts work to an additional 40 carpet and wooden-flooring fitters.

Martin Phillips, the man behind the brand, was the driving force behind the company and recognised the importance of aggressive advertising to get across his value-led message. This in turn lead to an influx of shoppers from across the province visiting the flagship Newtownards store, all wanting to haggle to get the best deal on their carpet.

Following Mr Phillips's death five years ago, Donald Mercer became managing director and manages the day-to-day running of the company, with Martin's wife Denise retaining ownership of the business.

Donald said: "Martin's death was a huge blow to the business, but thanks to our staff we were still able to implement the processes he created. We have been able to grow and develop the brand year-on-year because we have recognised what our customers want and have reacted to it. Like fashion, trends in carpets change each season, so we work with our local suppliers to offer something different.

"In the last number of years, we have diversified our contracts to ensure we don't concentrate on one sector. Our clients include IKEA, Lagan Homes, McGinnis Developments, Farrans and more recently the Arc in the Titanic Quarter.

"We are always on the lookout for bigger or better locations, although we have no plans to open any new stores just at the moment.

"Thanks to the success of our most recent venture and the continued support of our customers, we are confident, that despite the current challenging times, that we can look forward to another 30 years in business," he added.

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