Steamer Trading Cookshop is expecting to open its 30th branch in the late summer, in Glasgow – the largest city in Scotland.
The news was delivered by Steamer Trading Cookshop managing director Ben Phillips during a presentation given to members of BHETA (British Home Enhancement Trade Association) during the organisation’s March 21 open forum.
The event, which took place at BHETA’s headquarters in Birmingham, attracted a large audience of members keen to hear a detailed insight into the philosophy behind the success of Steamer.
Ben said that the 29-strong chain, which turns over more than £20m, offers 95% branded merchandise aimed at the more affluent 35-plus homeowner who is prepared to invest in the best equipment.
He added that as the freehold owner of most of its stores, Steamer is also a very financially stable company whose expansion is not the fastest, but is nonetheless determined, planned and reliably successful.
The retailer has ambitious growth plans to double sales to £40m within four years and increase store numbers to 50 within five years. But Ben forecasts that its recently launched internet site will be ‘the largest store’ by 2015, with sales doubling year-on-year.
Ben then set out some key criteria for potential suppliers. Product-wise, it’s “anything that could be found in the kitchen”, which could include items like cushions and books as well as the more obvious kitchenalia. The crucial qualification is that products must ‘delight, entertain or tempt’, (and preferably do all three).
Key opportunities are tableware, especially casual dining, glassware and textiles; small electricals; books; knives; coffee equipment and cookware.
Ben added that potential suppliers must show innovation, not replication; invest in design, packaging and POS; launch with confidence, depth and stock; offer training support; and be prepared to ask for advice and input – and listen. “We want to work with suppliers who share this approach to the future,” he said.