Tapi, the new flooring chain launched last year by the son of Carpetright founder Lord Harris, is confident it will turn a profit by 2018.
Chief executive Martin Harris – a former board director of Carpetright – said the company is trading well after “gaining traction quickly” since coming out of the blocks.
Harris launched his “edgy, modern-facing” flooring retailer in May 2015 with backing from investors including Lord Kirkham. Harris opened 47 stores in its first year of trading.
He said that, while it is too soon to give exact figures, sales so far have been “bang on expectation”.
Tapi chief financial officer Ian Priestley told Retail Week: “We are hopeful to break even as we head into 2017 and are hoping to start turning profit the year after that.”
“We are in awe of what the team has achieved,” Harris added.
Debuting on Tooting High Street in south London, Harris pushed the button on national expansion and it now has a presence across most regions of the country.
The retailer is eyeing 200 stores in total with plans to open about 50 stores each year until 2018, backed by a marketing push.
But Harris added: “We are not in a rush. We are making sure we find the right stores for the brand in locations that best fit the demographic.”
The retailer uses a ‘hub and spoke’ model, combining large core units with smaller high-street stores nearby. With warehouse space at its core units, Tapi can keep holding stock levels low at its smaller stores and reduce costs.
The retailer also has eight mobile showrooms which it tours around the UK.
Since launching, Harris said he has been “fine-tuning” the retail offer, focusing on creating a sensory experience for the customer, which he describes as “flooring with theatre”.
Tapi has a website, but Harris does not currently have plans to make this transactional.
He said: “We see the website as a dating site for our shops.
“Customers don’t want to buy flooring without seeing or feeling it, so why invest lots of money in something the customer does not want? We can use our energies better in-store.”
Harris said the uptake in the business’s partner-owned structure “exceeded his expectations”, and that around 60% of employees have chosen to invest in the business to date.
“It’s key to us that all the colleagues are invested. There’s power in ownership. The staff don’t waste things and they look after their investment,” he explained.
Harris said the carpet and flooring market has experienced 10-15% like-for-like growth in recent years and is confident, despite the outcome of the EU referendum, that Tapi is well positioned to grow within it.