Malaysia’s largest home-improvement retailer seeks $361m in IPO

KUALA LUMPUR — Home-improvement store operator Mr DIY Group of Malaysia opened its initial public offering for bids, aiming to raise 1.5 billion ringgit ($360.6 million) in what would be the country’s largest stock market listing since 2017.

The company on Tuesday unveiled its prospectus, an important step to listing on the main board of Kuala Lumpur’s stock exchange, known as Bursa Malaysia. Mr DIY’s first two attempts at listing — late last year and the first half of 2020 — were shelved amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The offering would give the company a market capitalization of 10 billion ringgit post-IPO, CEO Adrian Ong said at an online news conference after the prospectus was released.

Mr DIY is targeting a retail price of 1.60 ringgit a share, with the institutional offering consisting of 779.95 million shares and 161.53 million shares allocated for the retail offering.

“We today have a 29% market share of the overall home-improvement retail market in Malaysia,” he said, adding that the company has been growing faster than the country’s annual industry average of 10.2%.

“About 300 million ringgit [of the IPO’s proceeds] would be mainly used to repay existing debts,” Ong added.

The offering would be the largest in Malaysia since chemicals producer Lotte Chemical Titan raised about 3.77 billion ringgit in July 2017.

Since Mr DIY opened its first location in 2005, the company has fast grown into Malaysia’s largest home-improvement retailer, with 674 stores across the country and four stores in Brunei. In addition to the Mr DIY core brand, the company also operates two other store chains: Mr Toy, which sells affordable toys, and Mr Dollar, which offers a fixed-price point model.

“We are adding stores at a very fast pace, which suggests that we have confidence in the business,” Ong said. The company has set a two-year target, which began in January this year, to open 307 new stores.

Each of the Mr DIY stores can cost between 1 million ringgit and 1.6 million ringgit. The company so far has no ambitions to venture outside of its existing markets, he said.

Ong said that the pandemic affected the company financially because of the “movement control order” imposed in Malaysia, where most of Mr DIY stores had been closed earlier this year for at least a month. However, that has been compensated with a spike in sales since restrictions were lifted in May.

The Malaysian government imposed a nationwide lockdown for two months beginning in mid-March, forcing nonessential businesses to close in order to limit activity.

“We recorded a revenue of 416 million ringgit for the first two months of the year” before the lockdown, he said. “In contrast, we registered sales of 466 million ringgit in May and June, combined.”

Cornerstone investors for Mr DIY include Fidelity International, BlackRock and AIA.

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Inuvo’s IntentKey Uncovers Changing Home Renovation Audience Behaviors in Midst of COVID-19 for National Home Improvement Retailer Client

LITTLE ROCK, Ark., Sept. 28, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Inuvo, Inc. (NYSE American: INUV), a leading provider of marketing technology, powered by artificial intelligence (AI) that serves brands and agencies, today announces how the IntentKey artificial intelligence (AI) technology has built strong brand awareness with new audiences for a national home improvement retailer client by uncovering changing audience behaviors in the midst of COVID-19.

The pandemic has created a boom in home remodeling, as more time at home has changed the way people need their homes to function. Houzz reported a 58% increase in professional referrals for projects year-over-year. In a Porch.com survey, more than 75% of consumers said they plan to take on a new project within the next 12 months. CNBC coverage also boasts record high equity is giving homeowners the financial flexibility and confidence to reinvest in their homes as real estate prices increase amid record low interest rates.

IntentKey’s national home improvement retailer client was opening a new store in the Northeast and was looking for digital solutions to build brand awareness with both consumers and contractors, while also driving traffic to the new store.

The IntentKey AI technology was able to identify audience insights unavailable through conventional marketing technologies. The IntentKey easily identified the expected audience interests in home improvement concepts, such as renovation, bathroom remodeling, Pergo flooring, vanities, affordable tile, travertine, and the like. However, the IntentKey was also able to expose an unknown trend wherein audiences were demonstrating an interest in product within a 60, 90 and even 120-mile radius that were out of stock locally. This audience intent was manifested because the artificial intelligence technology behind the IntentKey was able to associate the general home renovation concepts with these unexpected concepts like “out of stock” and “low inventory levels,” which in turn suggested contractor and consumer were willing to inconvenience themselves in this COVID-19 environment so as to get their projects completed.

“This discovery contradicts the behaviors of the typical home renovation shopper / contractor who generally source supplies from local home improvement stores. COVID-19 has created an environment where people are working from home, vacations have been canceled, and normal activities outside home have diminished. Collectively, this has led to an increase in home renovation for functionality and enjoyment,” said Tristan Cameron, VP of Sales & Account Management. “The IntentKey AI identified this greater distance travel trend and used it to automatically increase the size of the audience receiving the marketing. This discovery highlights the adaptive power of the IntentKey’s real-time updates, which adjusts marketing audience size based on just-in-time insights.”

For this client, the IntentKey AI was able to define a strategy the home retailer could capitalize on wherein their traditional, more local audience targeting approach could be expanded to capture a greater footprint of in-market audiences willing to travel for items they had in stock.

About the IntentKeyTM
Inuvo®’s IntentKeyTM is a patented, machine-learning technology designed to mirror the manner in which the human brain instantly associates

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Bathroom retailer turns on the taps with investment and job creation

Bathroom retailer Victorian Plumbing is to invest in a 50,000 sq ft warehouse and create 80 jobs as it responds to an increase in orders.

The Formby-based business is benefitting from increased demand from customers for home improvements, as many people spend more time at home while missing out on summer holidays.

Stephnie Judge, who became managing director in March, said: “There has been an increased appetite for home renovations during lockdown and investing in a bathroom revamp has been a key project for many.”

The retailer already employs 400 people and generates £150m sales. Before lockdown it had been forecasting another big jump in sales, targetting £200m revenues.

It is now looking to hire across all areas of the business to support its growth, with a particular focus on logistics and customer service roles.

“Consumers are revamping their home for a number of reasons,” said Judge.

“For some, savings achieved during lockdown have meant they have the cash to invest in their homes. For others, lockdown gave them the additional time to work on such projects and reminded them of the benefits of DIY.

“We are seeing consumers realise the benefits of renovations such as a new bathroom or simply adding a downstairs toilet or separate shower to increase the appeal of their homes to potential buyers.”

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Rising turnover at online bathroom retailer

Revenues and profitability have seen strong growth in the recently filed accounts for online bathroom retailer Victoriaplum.com for the year ended 29 February 2020.

The company, which was acquired by Yorkshire-based private equity investor Endless LLP in October 2019, reported turnover of £70.9m (up more than 11% on prior year) and EBITDA of £2.1m.

It also recorded an operating loss before exceptional items of £0.7m (2018: £0.2m).

The firm’s latest annual report notes: “During a period when many of the company’s competitors have suffered financial losses, and in certain cases closure, the directors believe the continued improvements that have been made to the business have created the foundations for sustainable growth and further improvements to profitability.

“To facilitate future growth and create shareholder value the business will continue to invest in its infrastructure across the brand, IT platform, operations and people resources.”

In the period of trading since the year ended 29 February 2020, the company has seen further improved performance, with double-digit year-on-year sales growth and profitability significantly ahead of expectations.

Chief executive officer, Paul McClenaghan, said: “We continue to invest heavily in technology to take full advantage of the change in customer behaviour that has seen many shoppers migrate online.

“I am particularly encouraged by the growth of our differentiated offering that continues to reduce our reliance on ‘product and price’.

“The launch of our new Design & Installation service has been very well received by our customers and further differentiates us from the price-led competitors.

“Our Trade business continues to grow, as does the economic advantage of this route to market.”

Matthew Jubb, Partner at Endless LLP: “We have been delighted by the progress made by Paul and the team following our investment in October 2019.

“The results to February 2019 are just the foundations for what is proving to be a very exciting 2020 for the business with trading having been so strong in recent months.

“We are proud to be the investor behind a longstanding Yorkshire business and to support the management team with its plans, which we believe give good reason to be excited about Victoria Plum’s future. “

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Online home decor retailer Ballard Designs to open Houston store

Ballard Designs, a catalog and online retailer of furniture and home decor, will open a store in the Houston market in Rivers Oaks Shopping Center.

The Atlanta-based omnichannel retailer will take over the 10,000-square-foot space previously occupied by Gap Stores in February, the company announced.

Ballard Designs joins other design and furniture stores in Weingarten Realty Investors’ renovated River Oaks center as it continues its brick-and-mortar expansion. The Houston store will be the chain’s 16th since first opening stores 2007.

“We’ve been serving Houston designers and homeowners for 35 years through our catalog, so we already have a large following here,” Dominic Milanese, senior director of retail for Ballard Designs, said in an announcement.

RELATED: In Marie Flanigan’s new design book, there’s beauty in every home

Ballard is targeting a soft opening in early 2021. Social distancing protocols will be in place.

“Shopping is one of the Top 10 things to do in Houston,” Milanese said. “And at Ballard, we have such a robust assortment, we expect people to love our upholstery and larger furniture pieces, but also to stop in for smaller accessories as well.”

The location on West Gray Street near Shepherd Drive is close to the affluent River Oaks and Montrose neighborhoods, a couple of miles west of downtown. Weingarten Realty is developing the 30-story Driscoll at River Oaks apartment tower in the center, with opening planned in mid 2021.

Ballard Designs also has stores in Fort Worth and Dallas. The company is part of Qurate Retail Group, which also includes QVC, HSN, Zulily, Frontgate, Garnett Hill, Grandin Road and Ryllace.

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Is your Sur La Table closing? The kitchen goods retailer is liquidating more stores by the end of September

Going-out-of-business liquidation sales are now underway at 17 additional Sur La Table stores.

Can shopping malls survive the coronavirus pandemic and more store closings?

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The Seattle-based luxury kitchen goods retailer filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in July and announced plans to close 51 of its 121 stores while looking for a buyer for remaining locations. Five locations were listed as permanently closed in July.

According to a news release Friday, liquidation firms Great American Group, SB360 Capital Partners and Tiger Capital Group are managing the sales at the closing stores, which started Aug. 28, and the initial discounts are up to 30% off original prices, the release said. 



a store inside of a building: Sur la Table is closing at Freehold Raceway Mall.


© David P. Willis
Sur la Table is closing at Freehold Raceway Mall.

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A joint venture by Marquee Brands and CSC Generation, bought the remaining Sur La Table stores, brand and related intellectual property last month, the release said, noting that more than 55 Sur La Table locations will continue to operate across the country.

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According to the retailer’s website, stores will close by the end of September. Sixty-three locations were listed as permanently closed Friday.

Sur La Table, which is known for offering cooking classes at some of its stores, will not offer classes at closing locations, it said on its customer FAQ page. Classes will continue at select stores and online.

The company previously said the closings are “a result of the financial impact of the COVID-19 crisis.”

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Stein Mart store closings: Stein Mart to close all stores in bankruptcy amid COVID-19 pandemic. Liquidation sales underway

Sur La Table store closings 2020

The following stores are slated to close by the end of September, according to the store locator.

California Sur La Table closing stores

  • Burlingame: 1208 Donnelly Ave.
  • Dublin: Persimmon Place, 5186 Dublin Blvd.
  • Los Angeles: Farmers Market, 6333 W. Third St.
  • Woodland Hills: Village at Topanga, 6316 Topanga Canyon Blvd.
  • San Francisco: Ferry Building Marketplace
  • Santa Monica: 301 Wilshire Blvd.

Florida Sur La Table closures

  • Aventura: 19501 Biscayne Blvd.
  • Sarasota: Pineapple Square, 22 N. Lemon Ave.
  • West Palm Beach: Rosemary Square, 700 S. Rosemary Ave.

Michigan Sur La Table closing store

  • Grand Rapids: Breton South Village, 2500 Burton Street SE

Nebraska Sur La Table closure

  • Omaha: One Pacific Place, 10353 Pacific St.

North Carolina Sur La Table closings

  • Durham: The Streets at Southpoint, 8030 Renaissance Parkway
  • Huntersville: Northcross Commons, 9129 Sam Furr Road

Tennessee Sur La Table closure

  • Germantown/Memphis: Saddle Creek, 7509 Poplar Ave.

Texas Sur La Table closing store

  • Fort Worth: Waterside, 3700 Vision Drive

Virginia Sur La Table closure

Follow USA TODAY reporter Kelly Tyko on Twitter: @KellyTyko

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Is your Sur La

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