Sofa store defies retail gloom as they are set to open at Lakeside

SOFA specialist CSL defied the retail gloom to boost sales in the run-up to Christmas.

The chain, based in Golbourne, near Manchester, said it was on course to grow annual revenues by around £10m after enjoying a bumper festive period reports the Manchester Evening News.

That is despite footfall at the retail parks where its outlets are based being down.

The family-owned company, which has 21 stores nationwide, reported a 3.3 per cent increase in like-for-like sales in the four weeks to Boxing Day.

Total sales were up 36.8 per cent during the same period.

CSL said the positive performance was down to the strong discounts it has offered, along with innovations.

The include the “In your room” feature on its new website and a mobile phone application that uses augmented reality to allow customers to see their chosen sofa in their room before buying.

The firm said order intake for the year ending December 31 was likely to be ahead of last year at around £80m, compared with £70m in 2010.

Managing director Jason Tyldesley said: “The combination of reduced household expenditure and job insecurity has led to significantly reduced footfall across Britain’s retail parks.

“Despite this fairly bleak backdrop, we’ve managed to win over new customers and increase our market share.

“Being family owned and debt-free, we’ve had the ability to invest in our brand – in new stores, technology, marketing, customer service and product – while maintaining a highly competitive pricing strategy.

“We’re confident of securing further growth over the coming year as we scale up the business in the south east and continue to introduce new innovations to our service and product range across our stores.

“The outlook for retail parks is just as challenging as on the high street, but while overall spend is down, brands that are committed to things like quality and value – and are prepared to innovate – have everything to play for.

Last year, CSL announced a strategy to expand beyond its heartland north and midlands region, with plans to open 18 new sites by 2015.

It said its stores at Brent Cross Shopping Park, north west London, and Croydon were performing ahead of expectations, while a further store at Lakeside is due to open in Summer 2012.

CSL was founded by husband and wife Brian and Margaret Tyldesley in 1984, with a single store in Burnley, Lancashire. The company has been run by 38-year-old son Jason for the last 12 years and now employs nearly 700 people.

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