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04 July 2011

Jump in sales and profits at BrightHouse

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BrightHouse

Rent-to-own retailer BrightHouse saw total revenues rise 15.4 per cent to £227.7 million and like-for-like sales grow by 9.2 per cent in the year to March 31.

Its operating profit also jumped - from £24.8m last year to £33.6m this.

On top of that it opened 30 new stores during the year, taking the total to 228 and a further 30 more are planned for this year.

Chief executive Leo McKee, pointing out that the store group had grown from just 141 outlets in 2006/07, said: “Despite the travails of the high street, we continue to see customer demand for our products and services remain relatively buoyant.”

He told ERT that although the group also sold furniture, 75 per cent of its business was in electricals.

His customers tended, he said, to be early adopters in brown goods and have shown interest in smart (web connected) TV technology. In fact, Brighthouse has experienced 15 per cent growth in TVs while other retailers have struggled with the category.

Interestingly, Mr McKee added that BrightHouse is not getting demand for 3D TV. “Customers say it is too complicated, with glasses and so on.”

He also added that BrightHouse shoppers are heavily into social networking, as a result the store group has experienced “massive” Blackberry sales in the last 12 months, good sales of tablet devices and, of course, customers have been showing interest in smart TV technology. In other words, they are interested in products that expand communication.

It turns out, they are quite adventurous, too, when it comes to white goods.

The company’s appliance sales have grown 38 per cent and, said Mr McKee, the group has noted a shift from white to black and silver and now customers are demanding more adventurous colours – for instance, dark red and lime.

BrightHouse has some 200,000 customers throughout the country, many of whom are what the store group calls “credit impaired”.

According to Mr McKee, the alternative credit market in the UK comprises around 5.2m households, so there is still plenty of room for BrightHouse to grow.