Dwell: not resting on its laurels

The aspirational furniture retailer Dwell is set to open its 23rd outlet at the Lakeside Retail Park. This opening will continue its recent expansion program, which has led to seven new stores opening since January 2011. With this expansion and its affordable, contemporary offer, Dwell has been one of the better performing retailers in a challenging market.

Dwell's new Lakeside store follows its recent trend of opening stores in high traffic locations, with other recent openings occurring at the Westfield Stratford center, Cardiff's St David's Centre, and Bluewater. Indeed, its Bluewater outlet is due to move to a larger, more prominent unit on the Thames Walk side of the center, opposite Boots and one of the main car park entrances, indicating that sales in this unit have performed well.

A factor behind Dwell's recent success has been its largely exclusive offer. The retailer states that more than 90% of its range is exclusive, which helps drive footfall into stores and traffic to its website. Its contemporary but affordable products resonate well with more frugal customers who are looking for value for money, while its aspirational appeal helps it attract affluent customers more able to make larger purchases.

Dwell has also worked hard to develop its multichannel proposition to be as seamless as possible, with the purchasing systems for its stores and website being connected. This allows shoppers to select products via its website, catalogue, or store and pay for them either online or instore. As shoppers are under greater time pressures and increasingly expect to be able to shop in a way and at a time that suits them, these systems will help Dwell better satisfy customers. This also illustrates how furniture retailers, a sector with a low level of online penetration, can utilize the Internet effectively.

While the retailer has not yet released its full accounts for the 2011-12 financial year, it did state that sales for the first six months of the period were up 7% in its last accounts. With the opening of its Stratford and Bluewater stores in the same year, it is very likely that Dwell was able to build on this momentum for the full year and that its openings throughout 2012-13 have maintained its strong performance. While the retailer must ensure that it maintains like-for-likes sales while expanding, Dwell has done very well in achieving sales growth in a challenging market.

For further information please contact Matthew Walton at mwalton@datamonitor.com.