Online furniture retailer Loaf is preparing to make the move to a physical retail presence and is actively seeking sites for its Loaf Shack destinations in prominent south-west London locations.
With an initial office and showroom in Notting Hill, the dedicated Loaf team – who refer to themselves as ‘Loafers’ – have now appointed niche retail consultancy specialist, MMX Retail, to advise on the UK expansion plan. Loaf intends to secure up to five sites in the capital over the next three years and a further five in the South East within a four-year timeframe.
After initially launching as The Sleep Room in 2008 with a view to creating a hassle-free and affordable bed-buying process, the company soon expanded into the making and selling of sofas and kitchen furniture, which led to the name change in 2012.
"We want our customers to be able to interact with our growing range of products, whilst retaining our unique approach to retailing"
Now an established online provider of comfortable, high-calibre furniture and homewares, the Loafers want to uphold their reputation for nonconformist retailing by setting up Loaf Shacks across the UK. The concept behind the stores will be to break from the traditional formal setting of in-store retail by launching large, informal showrooms where customers will be invited to ‘loaf’ around on the products.
Having experienced an average annual sales growth of 81% over the past three years, Loaf has recently attracted the attention of Monsoon founder, Peter Simon, who purchased a minority stake in the company in early 2014.
Charlie Marshall, company founder, says: “Following on from our enormous success in the online market, we now want to establish a physical presence to complement our e-tail offer. Whilst Loaf has experienced rapid sales growth year on year since our 2008 start-up, we want our customers to be able to interact with our growing range of products, whilst retaining our unique approach to retailing.
“The Loaf Shacks will operate in a manner that reflects our products – relaxed and easy-going, but without ever compromising on the high-quality standards that define Loaf as a brand.”
Sarah Worssam of MMX Retail adds: “We are excited to be advising our new client, Loaf, on their expansion plans in the UK market and we are seeking well-located units of between 4,000 and 12,000 sqft across London.”