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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This company by husband-wife duo is redefining luxury interior design for clients; eyes Rs 100 Cr turnover thi

The economic reforms of 1991 opened the Indian economy to the global business for the first time. The year was also tumultuous as it saw the collapse of the Soviet Union, an event that caused great economic stress to the Russian business ecosystem.

Around the same time, in 1993, Hardesh Chawla was in Russia running a financial services business in Moscow. As the economic unrest grew due to the Asian financial crisis in 1997-98, people started selling their assets in Russia. Hardesh saw that some real estate structures, though in dilapidated conditions, were being sold for lesser price. He started buying those buildings and renting them out. 

Hardesh’s wife Monica Chawla had a bent towards interior design and would add her inputs before renting out the house. When they started receiving positive feedback from their tenants about the design, they decided to translate this into a business opportunity.

Hardesh and Monica started Essentia Environments, a luxury interior design firm, in the year 1999. The company is an end-to-end solutions provider for building luxury properties offering services such as architecture, interior designing, manufacturing furniture, setting up the decor, etc. The husband-wife duo returned to India in 2003 and set up their office in Gurugram.

The company claims to have completed over 1000 projects in India, Russia, and the UAE in the past two decades, and counts DLF, Dasnac, Magnum, Porsche, and others as its clients. The company is looking to cross a turnover of Rs 100 crore this year.

Essentia Environments

Essentia Environments Team

The journey

Hardesh says there was no tipping point in their journey. One thing kept leading to another and before they knew, the design firm was ready. He says that his wife’s strength was in design whereas he found his strength in identifying the business opportunity and then capitalising on it.

As the years before founding the company were so turbulent in Russia, everything became easier for them to handle after returning to India. 

“Nothing surprises us anymore,” he says.

Talking about the difference between the Russian and the Indian business ecosystem, Hardesh points that India has evolved enormously over the years and the ease of doing business is greater. “Russia, unfortunately, hasn’t seen that kind of evolution,” he adds.

Additionally, a survey done by PwC Russia revealed that more than 50 percent of Russia’s corporate community believes that doing business in the country is more complicated today than it was during the 1990s.

Essentia Environments

Property designed by Essentia Environments

The business

When it comes to designing houses, the Essentia team does a thorough research, taking inputs from all family members. When they have everyone’s expectations, choices, and tastes in place, the team starts working together to create designs, architecture, fabrics, and furniture. 

A lot of items like precious stones, leather, and some fabrics are imported, but the furniture is manufactured in India in their Manesar unit. The company also creates picture quality 3D renders before the actual work starts so that any discrepancy in the design can be

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