Dream Doors has posted record first-quarter sales.
A decade on from its inception as a solitary showroom on the south coast, the UK's largest kitchen franchise has broken its most sought-after record, taking more than £1,000,000 of orders in a single calendar month.
That figure, achieved in March, tops an impressive first quarter that saw Dream Doors increase sales of its innovative kitchen facelifts by more than 25% compared to the same period last year.
Started by Gosport-based entrepreneur, Troy Tappenden - with just £500 in his pocket and a burning desire to escape his nine-to-five job - Dream Doors now has 35 showrooms nationwide, with another five set to open by the end of the summer.
“Dream Doors was up 18% last year and by the same amount in 2009, all of which happened while we were in the teeth of the recession,” said Tappenden. “We're already up 25% on the first quarter of 2011, and that's at a time when cuts are being made and consumer spending is still down.
“We almost broke through the magic million a couple of times last year, and in February we sold more than £950,000. It was only a matter of time before we reached our target; the next goal is to open our 40th showroom.”
While many retailers have struggled in the last few years – government research shows 14% of high street shops remained vacant in 2010 compared to 4% in October 2008 – Dream Doors has continued to open new showrooms, and increase sales in those that were already established. Tappenden believes that in identifying a customer base that is both keen and able to spend, as well as offering a time and cost-saving alternative to a complete kitchen refurbishment, Dream Doors has been able to profit where the broader retail sector, and the kitchen industry in general, has lost out.
“It is tough out there, and we've had to work harder than ever before to promote our brand,” he said. “But it helps that we have a great concept, backed up with high-end products that are still very affordable.
“Since most of our customers are either approaching, or are in retirement age, they aren't worried about job cuts or redundancies, and most of them aren't in a position to move home or undertake any large DIY projects. They will happily spend a few thousand pounds – our average order value is around £4,000 – on improving their kitchen with made-to-measure new doors, worktops and a sink, and occasionally a new cooker and hob.
“Traditional kitchen companies miss out on this as they can only offer a complete new kitchen, and for a decent one of those you won't get much change out of £10,000.”