Sofology was founded in 1974 and previously known as CS Lounge Suites Ltd, Clayton Salerooms, CSL and Sofaworks. The North West England founded sofa retailer was an auction room company that started its life as CSL Sofas. Around 1982, the company turned to retailing specialist sofa and manufacturing. The company began as a store chain for the high street and was selling its own items.
By 2002, selling its own manufactured furniture was not making sense. Since the furniture retail could source products at a more cost effective price from the Far East, Eastern Europe and Europe, it ceased to operate its sofa manufacturing in the United Kingdom. Across the UK, Sofology continues expanding its stores list in various high profile types of retail parks. Currently, the furniture retail focuses a lot on leather sofa, recliner sofas, corner sofas and fabric sofas mostly.
Trouble with Sofaworks brand name
At the beginning of 2016, Sofology replaced “Sofaworks” as the new name in a rebranding move after losing a court case where it had been demonstrated in court that Sofaworks was actually another company’s brand name. The case was brought to court by DFS, a rival before the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court. Apparently, the rebranding by Sofaworks had been done in December 2013 from CSL, a name it had acquired back in 1996 although registered in September 2013 as a trademark. The argument was that Sofology, then named Sofaworks, was conflicting with Sofa Workshop, a DFS brand that had been around since 1985.
Big TV ads
Sofology hasn’t held back in the area of TV advertising and has expanded a lot geographically on television. Their clear turn to commercials mostly music-based is one of a kind. Around 2010 in December, there were about 260 complaints levelled against them to the UK Advertising Standards Authority after one of the Sofology’s adverts remaking Duran Duran’s Girls on Film featured women scantily dressed on Sofology’s specialist sofas. Despite the criticism the complaints were allowed to continue by the authority.
One of the iconic traits of a Sofology location is the number of employees, who are usually more than 1000 every given time in each location, even in Golborne where the sofa retail is headquartered. All the Sofology service technicians and deliveries are operated in-house with the head office also holding the company’s training centre. Around 2011, Sofology had 40 vehicles with a capacity of 7.3 tonnes including 20 expert technicians.
Sofology has five main centres of distribution that cover all the stores under its domain. The largest is over 28,000 metres squared or 300,000 square feet at its headquarters in Golborne. Others include South Yorkshire’s 60,000 square feet distribution centre and North East’s Seaham 40,000 square feet distribution centre. In 2011, another warehouse of 30,000 square feet was launched, while another opened in 2014, the most recent, in Bathgate.
Sofology also opened a new shop in Dundee, Scotland around the Kingsway West Retail Park in May 2015. The Dundee shop is spread in two floors for a 20,000 square feet space and features brickwork and widespread complete height glazing. With the entry of the new shop, Sofology complemented the Edinburgh and Paisley stores to spread the presence of the company in Scotland.
Towards enhancing its business operations and customer experience in August 2016, Sofology signed a £1 million deal that would see Mentronet UK providing network services across 33 different Sofology locations throughout the UK. The deal includes providing fibre and wireless connectivity in Sofology’s headquarter location Golborne, just outside Wigan. The idea is to revolutionise in store customer experience in the different stores through a reliable and robust web connection in the furniture company’s headquarter and its other stores.
In May 2016 Sofology secured a capital investment for growth to the tune of £10 million from BGF (Business Growth Fund). The furniture company is expected to use the capital injection to accelerate its various expansion goals across the United Kingdom. With 33 retail stores throughout the UK with stores having been opened in four different areas from Cannock, Dundee, and Enfield to Preston in one year, the Manchester headquartered furniture retail is expected to keep expanding under chief executive Jason Tyldesley.
This comes after Sofology had generated £102 million in sales in 2014 and £143 million in 2015. The funds were expected to help the management in its retail outlets rollout across the nation as well as expanding the company’s delivery fleet.
Sofology was also working towards enhancing its presence online by developing a new web platform, including a new app and website refresh to give online buyers a flawless customer experience online and seamless online ordering.
Upped yearly sales
Sofology has seen its revenues go up by 40 percent in its latest report. In the 2015 financial year the sales reported include £142.9 million, compared to 2014’s £102 million. The sofa retailer’s double-digit rate of growth continues in 2016 and could be jolted up with the rollout of Sofology’s new online platform.