Online store's sales top £50m as shoppers turn away from high street
WHILE the high street is reeling from a series of chain store body blows, a Derbyshire online retailer has announced record sales figures topping £50 million.
Appliances Direct, of South Normanton, has seen its turnover increase more than 70% over the last year, selling ovens, fridge freezers, dishwashers, tumble driers, washing machines, televisions and other electronic goods online and through its showroom.
The Berristow Lane business – part of the £100 million-turnover Buy It Direct group – is one of the companies profiting as more and more purchases are made online.
The business has recently completed a recruitment drive but if sales continue to grow more jobs are likely to be created this spring.
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One current Appliances Direct employee, Euan Andrews from Derby, arrived at the firm 18 months ago, having lost his job at a branch of a struggling national furniture chain.
Sales adviser Mr Andrews said: "I worked for a high-street furniture company until they started closing stores because more people were buying furniture online.
"I've been here since June 2011 when there were five or six on sales. Now there are 15 of us and things are really busy. We are in the right place at the right time.
"Customers and manufacturers like us because we get the right training and know what we're talking about."
In recent weeks, camera shop Jessops, appliances retailer Comet, entertainment outlet HMV and video rental chain Blockbuster have all gone into administration, while the Co-op has announced plans to shut nine department stores across the region.
The Appliances Direct business model sees most of its sales made online but advice is also available to customers over the phone or at the showroom, where there is £2 million worth of stock.
Buy It Direct managing director Nick Glynne said: "At the moment, it seems like barely a week goes by without hearing of another big-name casualty on the high street and there will be many more.
"The whole world of retail is changing because, with good-enough pictures and enough trust, people will buy anything online."
Mr Glynne believes that this trend is set to continue to benefit his business as hits to Appliances Direct's website have also increased by 65% over the past year.
Appliances Direct sells around 650 appliances each day, making it one of the largest independent outlets of its type in the country.
"We are an ambitious company and are expecting to grow even more and surpass our record sales figures again in 2013," said Mr Glynne.
In addition, the Buy It Direct group has just bought online furniture store Furniture123.