Barker and Stonehouse
- Sector: Retail
- Region: North East England
- Revenue: £50m to £75m
- Website: www.barkerandstonehouse.co.uk
A new league
Barker and Stonehouse is a great example of a Northern powerhouse company taking the UK by storm. Founded in 1946 in Stockton, it’s not exactly been an overnight success but it is now the largest family-owned furniture retailer in the country, with some of the most cutting-edge showrooms in the industry.
“We had been looking to invest in a new head office and store on Teesside for a while and in late 2013 there was an opportunity to take on a site at Teesside Shopping Park. We invested £4.5m in the development of the 48,270 square foot store, and the design, which takes inspiration from stores in New York and Paris, has catapulted retail in the region into a completely new league,” says Managing Director, James Barker.
“The ‘wow’ factor you get when shopping in one of our stores is impossible to replicate online, so we will continue to invest in bricks and mortar”
James Barker, Managing Director, Barker and Stonehouse
In addition, in 2013, it opened a store in Battersea, South West London – its first foray south – investing £1m to refurbish the historic Price’s Candle Factory.
“It proved to be a successful move and the store has continued to go from strength-to-strength over the past two and a half years,” says James.
However, during the recession and financial crisis of 2008-09, James says the company felt the impact before most other businesses.
“The weekend of the Northern Rock queues – when thousands of people lined up to withdraw their savings – we felt the impact instantly, more so than the rest of the country did because of the immediate effect it had on everyone in the North East,” says James.
He sees further challenges in digital technologies and says they are improving the company’s online offering to make the user journey as seamless as possible.
However, James still places at least equal importance on physical stores.
£4.5m – The amount invested in the Teesside Shopping Park site
“It’s important that this investment doesn’t impact on the in-store experience,” he says.
“The ‘wow’ factor you get when shopping in one of our stores is impossible to replicate online, so we will continue to invest in bricks and mortar to keep inspiring our customers.”