- Client :Julian Charles
- Category :Business Acquisition
- Project Url :https://www.juliancharles.co.uk/
- Date :01/06/2020
SKG bought Julian Charles in June 2020. It is one of the home furnishings sector’s hidden gems, starting in 1947 as a small Lancashire textile business called Rectella. It grew into one of the largest manufacturers of home textiles in the UK, developing its retail arm under the Julian Charles brand.
Through our Review – Reset – Revive approach, we have put it on a sound financial footing and revived the physical and online business to leave it well placed to emerge as a winner in the new retail environment that follows the fight against coronavirus.
We bought a business with a respected brand, built on inspirational ideas, Great British design, quality and value.
We’re proud of our roots and of the people who are the bedrock of the business. Around 25 per cent of products are sourced here in the UK and the rest from established suppliers across the world.
Julian Charles trades nationally from its website and from 75 locations, including 41 leased stores and concessions in other retailers.
Our first priority was to carry out a full review of all aspects of the business and take rapid action where needed.
We strengthened the management and brought in additional experience and skills at a senior level to complement the existing team.
SKG’s Neil Taylor is overseeing the turnaround. Simon Peck was appointed managing director, Steve Edwards was recruited from Ryman as the new finance director and Kevin Moulsdale was promoted to commercial director.
We put in place a disciplined system of forecasting and reviews, overseen by SKG’s Alan Evans, with tight control of cash and stock management.
We worked closely with our partners, including suppliers and landlords, targeting cost reductions such as appointing a new logistics partner, renegotiating leases to turnover rents, and cutting overheads.
We have successfully negotiated the removal of the incumbent lenders’ exposure and SKG has provided loans for short-term deficits.
A side-effect of Covid has been huge growth in internet retailing. Online sales now account for 25 per cent of Julian Charles revenues, but this will increase thanks to investment in the online platform. Online ranges have been extended and availability improved.
There is also plenty of opportunity to grow the Julian Charles stores and concessions, by focusing on those that are profitable and adding more to increase the physical footprint in new markets.
Both sides of the business will also benefit from investment in best-selling ranges and the launch of new categories such as made-to-measure curtains, kitchenware and tableware. New ranges will see the development of designer brands, including children’s and babies’ bedding and soft furnishings.
Eight months since it was bought by SKG, Julian Charles is on a sound financial footing with a clear strategy for growth. Despite the disruption over the past year caused by the pandemic, the business has emerged in robust shape with significant opportunities to grow online and in-store , and is well set to deliver attractive profits once the shackle of lockdown restrictions are lifted.
The graph below tells the story