Online homeware retailer Loaf continues its success story with sales growing by 40% over the first half of its financial year. Loaf reported annual sales of £20m (inc VAT) for 2013/14.
Launched five years ago with a select offering of 12 beds and one mattress, today Loaf's product offering covers the entire home. Rapid growth has positioned Loaf as the UK’s 40th-fastest growing company (Fast Track 100 2013), with beds and sofas making up a large part of the business.
Founded by 40 year-old entrepreneur Charlie Marshall, the business is built on the principle of keeping it simple, making the customer experience as fuss-free as possible.
The 60-strong team has doubled in size over the last year to cater for a growing product range, an upcoming website redesign and to expand the London-based showroom. Investment in an improved IT system, larger warehouse space and a new specialist courier company has all helped improve the customer journey.
“Loaf’s move to bricks and clicks is all about reaffirming our brand and giving customers a fantastic experience where they can kick their shoes off and relax”
Loaf is on track to grow into a £100m business over the next few years. To achieve its founder's expansion goals, large retail destinations called Loaf Shacks are in the pipeline. Charlie Marshall believes that retail in general will increasingly see e-commerce brands migrate to physical spaces, with multi-channel platforms working more intelligently alongside each other.
Charlie comments: “Our challenge when we launched five years ago was to communicate that shopping online was safe, and that buying a bed or sofa through the internet was often quicker and better value than the high street.
“The proposition of e-commerce has changed significantly. Now it’s more about having original products that are good value. Online shopping isn’t just about bagging a cheaper price. Customers are clued up – they expect great quality products and great service.”
For Charlie, “Loaf’s move to bricks and clicks is all about reaffirming our brand and giving customers a fantastic experience where they can kick their shoes off and relax.”
In January 2014 Peter Simon, the founder of Monsoon and Accessorize, took a significant minority stake in Loaf for an undisclosed sum.