Dreams founder Mike Clare has vowed to start up his own beds retailer by the summer after failing to buy back the business last night
Clare narrowly missed out on buying back the business he founded in 1987 after Dreams was sold in a pre-pack administration deal to private equity firm Sun European last night, as revealed by Retail-Week.com.
Clare told Retail Week he is planning to launch a self-funded mid-market 200-store beds business that will rival Dreams, with the first tranche of stores set to open by the summer. He has set up a company in the name of Buzz Beds and secured the domain name.
However, Clare said he will not necessarily use the name to launch the business.
The entrepreneur, who sold Dreams to Exponent almost five years ago to the day for £222m, said it will “feel very strange competing against Dreams” but added: “There’s an opportunity right now.”
Sun European acquired 171 stores last night for £35m.
Clare wants to pick up about 50 of the remaining 93 Dreams stores, but he cautioned: “We don’t want to take the worst stores.”
He plans to fund the business himself. “I’ve got deep pockets,” he said. Clare’s bid for Dreams had been backed by investment group Apollo.
Clare said he felt confident launching a 200-store beds business in a tough big ticket environment because he knows the sector so well. He said that landlords and suppliers would be keen to see him take on shuttered Dreams shops. “It’s early days but I know I’ll get a lot of support.
“Beds is what I know,” said Clare. “I have a reputation on that side and I’ll milk that reputation.”
Clare said he is “getting a team together” to run the new business.
“This isn’t Plan A but it’s a Plan B,” said Clare.
The Dreams founder said he wants to “do things a bit differently” with the new business. “The only really radical furniture store is IKEA, the rest look the same. Lighting, flooring, cash desk, promotions, they’re all the same.
“We want to differentiate ourselves from the crowd.”
Clare was aiming to buy Dreams’ debt through a solvent process initially, although he admitted that he would have initiated a pre-pack administration further down the line to restructure the business.