Belfast Telegraph

Stock market flotation still on agenda for retailer Made as sales take off

The furniture retailer’s revenues soared by 40% to £127 million in 2017.

Bosses at Made remain open-minded about the prospect of a stock market listing after the furniture retailer secured double-digital revenue growth last year.

The online firm’s revenues soared by 40% to £127 million in 2017, on the back of a similar level of growth the year before.

The brand also reached a significant milestone when it secured its first institutional investor as part of a £40 million funding round, although the company has refused to name its newest backer.

Made also secured backing from Partech Ventures, Level Equity and Eight Roads Ventures, which have invested in the business in previous funding rounds.

People are getting more confident buying big-ticket items online Philippe Chainieux, Made chief executive

Chief executive Philippe Chainieux, who took over from Made’s founder Ning Li after serving as chief operating officer, said an initial public offering (IPO) remains an option open to the business.

“We’ve been on the IPO track for years. It’s a modality, not a strategy.

“We are happy with the route we are on, it’s (the IPO) one of the many options we have,” the chief executive said.

Made’s most recent funding will mainly be spent on marketing as it looks to expand into new markets and raise its profile.

Crucially, Mr Chainieux wants to take advantage of the growing demand for furniture sold online.

“People are getting more confident buying big-ticket items online,” he said. “This shift is once in a generation.”

The retailer already operates in five markets, and has showrooms in London, Birmingham, Leeds, Amsterdam, Paris and Berlin. Now, Made is looking to Scandinavia, whilst also seeking to grow its presence in France and Germany.

Mr Chainieux said Made’s pre-existing supply chain on the continent means it will be relatively easy to enter new European markets.

Made credits a large part of its success to its supply chain, which it operates itself without needing to employ third-party delivery or courier companies. The retailer also develops and manufactures all of its own products.

The nature of Made’s supply chain means it can bring products to market significantly faster than its rivals, giving it a competitive edge similar to that enjoyed by fast-fashion retailers like Zara.

Mr Chainieux said more established retailers will take 18 months to create a collection and deliver the finished products to customers.

You need to build brands and a unique proposition. It is not possible to compete if you have the same product as Amazon Philippe Chainieux, Made chief executive

Made can produce what it describes as “capsule collections” in four to six months, which means it can test its customers’ appetites quickly, and adopt the concepts that work.

Made started life in 2010 as a website selling sofas, but no longer sees itself as a single-category retailer. It now sells furniture, homewares and is trialling lifestyle products for the first time.

In its summer collection, Made will broaden its range of products significantly, selling bicycles, bike helmets and a range of gardening products.

The company has even manufactured a leather holder for beer bottles that hooks to a bike frame.

Mr Chainieux said he is more concerned with building a brand geared towards design-conscious millennials than specialising in one particular retail category.

In addition, he wants to focus on making products that customers can not find anywhere else, because he feels this is the only strategy that will work for retailers wanting to build a standalone brand in the era of Amazon.

“You need to build brands and a unique proposition. It is not possible to compete if you have the same product as Amazon,” he said.

“Don’t fight on the service or the price. The people who will be successful develop their own product.”

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