The online tile retailer’s chairman Mo Iqbal revealed plans for 15 physical showrooms within the UK, following the success of its two branches in Stoke and Manchester.
Speaking to DIY Week, Mr Iqbal said: “We believe, if we put 15 locations across the UK, we will capture 80% of the customers we want to capture.”
The business, founded by former Topps directors Mo Iqbal, Jeremy Harris and Nick Ounstead, opened its first showroom in Tunstall, Stoke on Trent last summer as part of a new development incorporating a head office and warehouse facility. Its second showroom opened in Stockport, Greater Manchester last month.
“Something I’ve found since opening our first showroom is that people are willing to travel a long way…sometimes up to 40 minutes,” Mr Iqbal said.
Tile Mountain’s showrooms are typically double the size of traditional tile retail outlet, he explains, adding that they are “worth driving to” but also that they are not a cheap fix. “They’re an important part of the expansion,” he said. “It’s the future of selling. We just need to pop these stores in the right location.”
Mr Iqbal, who was also at the helm of Tile Giant before selling the business to Travis Perkins, said technology is helping to shape Tile Mountain and its future, with search volumes helping to determine the locations of its next showroom sites. “We’ve done the data analysis and got the next locations lined up, said Mr Iqbal. “We will sign up for another one this year and it might be that we look to build a new one, which I’d love to do.”
Expansion is also continuing online. The number of products now available to buy from Tile Mountain’s website has increased 50% in the past six months but the target is to double that and offer 2,000 lines online.
While former employer Topps announced its latest sales figures had been hit by consumers enjoying the warm weather rather than buying tiles, Mr Iqbal is sceptical. “I’ve been flogging tiles since I was 16 years old. In my experience, when the sun is out, people’s attention does turn to outdoors but, ultimately, these renovations are just delayed and I expect to get those transactions in a month or two. It can be a bit of an excuse for retailers to hide behind sometimes.
I’ve not seen any massive impact on our business so far. Those sales will just hold over until next month.”
Read the full interview in the July 20 edition of DIY Week out now.