Hobbycraft is the UK’s leading specialist retailer of art and craft products.

It offers a range of over 20,000 products catering for some 250 different crafts and hobbies and has turned its 80-plus superstores into crafting destinations with classes and demonstrations to engage with customers and emphasise its specialist credentials. The retailer is continuing to expand via the opening of smaller-format stores, which complement its multichannel operations by helping grow its click-and-collect offering. As of mid-2022, the retailer was operating nearly 110 stores. 

Hobbycraft was acquired by Bridgepoint in 2010, with a five-year business transformation plan put in place by the private equity group to support ambitious multichannel growth plans. This included major investment in overhauling all of its systems and the creation of an integrated distribution centre in the Midlands. 

It has a fully responsive website, but is continuing to make improvements in areas such as checkout and fulfilment. This served it well during the pandemic, with online sales surging 152% to account for 34% of total sales in FY2020. It since invested £0.4m, and a new website launched in March 2022.

Personalisation is also a current focus, driven by a massive push on its Hobbycraft Club loyalty scheme, which now has more than 5 million members. It launched a subscription service in 2022 called ’Hobbycraft Plus’, aimed at small businesses.

In addition to investment in infrastructure, the retailer has also invested heavily in reducing prices over the past couple of years to make it more competitive with the non-specialist competition. This has seriously impacted margins.

Innovation rating: 2

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