Rent-to-own furniture and electricals retailer BrightHouse has reported another strong year with underlying EBITDA up 10.8% to £49.4m in the year to March 31.
Like-for-likes jumped 8.3% while revenue was up 11.4% to £297m. In the first quarter of the current year like-for-likes strengthened, growing 9.1%.
The retailer opened 27 stores in the year, taking its portfolio to 280.
BrightHouse chief executive Leo McKee said the retailer, which is aimed at low-income shoppers, benefited from an investment in ecommerce, supply chain and risk management systems.
McKee told Retail Week BrightHouse also benefited from a “relentless focus on seeking to understand our customers”. He added: “The customer is looking for quality products at competitive prices.”
McKee added that a focus on customer service, including an improved delivery offer and different payment options, had also paid off.
He said that after a focus on product, price, store environment and “properly trained staff” over the last four years, the business has turned its attention to infrastructure and the back office, including HR, IT, supply chain and marketing.
“In the past couple of years we have significantly strengthened our back office, it has become more and more important as we grow,” he said.
The retailer made a number of hires in the year including appointing Colin Madders as its first head of ecommerce. It also appointed Peter McTague as its business development director and promoted Mark Lynch to director of supply chain.
McKee said tablets and smartphones continue to be among the top sellers at BrightHouse, and that UK-sourced furniture was also appealing to quality-conscious customers.
Since year-end BrightHouse has launched its first loyalty scheme that includes giving vouchers for partner retailers to its customers.
McKee remained cautiously optimistic on the economic outlook, despite a recent spate of positive data including lower unemployment and improved housing transactions.
“People are getting used to the new fiscal reality. But there’s a long way to go before we’re out of the woods,” he cautioned.