Established back in 2008 by Richard Tucker and Joe Murray, WorldStores stands as arguably the largest online garden and home products retailer in the United Kingdom. They conceived the idea with a view to rescuing thousands of mattresses, beds and sofas from fade away in disuse across warehouses in the UK. Each week there’re thousands of shoppers on their platform with 2016 expected to be the year the giant online retailer registers over 45 million annual visitors to their website.
The online retailer is backed by such top investors as Serena Capital, Advent Ventures and Balderton Capital. The goal is providing every potential customer with the best hassle-free, simple and effective shopping experience possible. There’re lots of choices provided under a single roof that contrasts with other competitors, the balance tilting towards WorldStores. The store also offers a unique day or next day delivery on lots of the furniture items on their site. Browsing the site you’ll find lots of things a home needs, from mattresses, beds, sofas, sheds, DIY, rugs, clocks and bookcases among others.
Top products in one roof
WorldStores claims to have the largest European product catalogue for garden and home. They offer homewares and furniture in all manner of colours, sizes and styles from more than 800 giant brands. Apparently, everyone deserves a choice and the site has thousands of trend garden and home products added to allow customers to choose what they need.
Value, delivery and security
As a result of smart sourcing and the gigantic size of the company, all the furniture products are offered at the most competitive prices. WorldStores claims to continually negotiate with suppliers for bigger savings, particularly to offer products in their repeated flash sale. The online retail claims to have all transactions as secure as possible, including their garden and home sites where payment gateways are encrypted through MasterCard Securecode or Visa Verified. Each of the homewares and furniture products is supported by the online store’s seven day refund policy.
Delivery is very important in any buyer’s mind and WorldStores claims to offer customers a rapid day or next day delivery choice for thousands and thousands of furniture and homeware products. From as early as 2013, WorldStores was offering customers with lots of delivery choices for large items to any location within the UK.
WorldStores has been working hard over the years to be the top UK consumer destination for garden and home products. Three years after its establishment the home items retailer won an £8.5m investment from Advent Venture Partners and Balderton Capital, an existing partner at the time. The provided funds were to offer the company a chance to extend to other new categories while improving services offered and delivery of goods. At the time in 2011, WorldStores was operating 77 unique web stores selling over 175K products. With a significant growth, the investments were seen as a chance for the company to record its highest sales ever.
By connecting diverse small websites such as Trampoline World, Dog Kennels World to Bedroom World, the online retailer was able to offer over 300,000 household goods and furniture by 2012. With diverse choices among varied products and rapid delivery, the company grew its turnover from nothing to about £60 million between 2008 and 2012. WorldStores is not a furniture salesmanship but a complex and effective company with web search experts operating under a unique business model.
In 2015, WorldStores was able to raise about £25 million from Goldman Sachs Merchant Banking. The funds were specifically raised to develop a fulfilment in-house fleet to make next-day delivery even more effective, especially for large items in the furniture category to over 90 percent of the population in the UK all days of the week. The investment was also aimed at enhancing its technology, product offering and Casafina membership scheme. At the time the Twickenham based company had over 350 members of staff and an annual turnover of over £100 million. Sachs joined existing investors such as Serena Capital, Advent Ventures and Balderton Capital-also participants in the fundraising.
Back in 2013 WorldStores had raised £10 million in Series C led by Advent Venture Partners, Balderton Capital and Serena Capital who had participated in the funding round. As a result, WorldStores had raised a total of £21 million. The funding was meant to help the retailer expand its range of products and supplier network that at the time stood at 500,000 supplier lines. In 2012, WorldStores reported a sales growth of 50 percent and was targeting £75 million in 2013.
In 2014 WorldStores was also busy expanding its investment portfolio after purchasing Kiddicare for an unrevealed amount. At the time WorldStores had a turnover of £80 million and selling over 600,000 items from over 1600 suppliers offering different types of brands including homewares and furniture at WorldStores.co.uk, discount design modern specialist at Modern.co.uk and Casafina.com’s private homewares sales site.
Kiddicare had been able to create a niche for itself not only with suppliers but also with customers. WorldStores intended to develop this further by making the most of the new acquisition’s customer base with cross marketing potential; Kiddicare was also focusing on the home just like the giant UK furniture online retailer. Kiddicare’s nursery market penetration is seen as one of the reasons why it appeared attractive to WorldStores. Initially, Kiddicare had been bought by Endless, an equity firm, around July 15th 2014 for only £2 million.
Fuelled by growth
The continued round of investment by the different partners were due to the impressive accomplishments of the company in the shortest time it had been in operation and ability to become the leader in online homewares and furniture purchases across the UK in record time.
Supporting its growth is meant to make WorldStores a special online retail company and leader in terms of product quality and depth by offering the best customer experience. The company remains robust and popular especially due to its own in-house fleet that can deliver the largest furniture bought by a customer within the UK in the next day or day of choice.