Growth Partner, the Yorkshire based investment firm of HomeServe Plc founder and CEO Richard Harpin, has completed a £5 million investment into the rapidly growing flooring business Connection Retail, which trades via e-commerce and an expanding footprint of retail stores across the UK, operating under three brands: Flooring Superstore, Direct Wood Flooring and Grass Direct.
Connection Retail was founded by CEO Dan Foskett and COO Michael Roy in 2012, with investment and support from flooring industry veteran Jason Maguire. Dan and his team quickly scaled the business to £18m turnover within five years selling direct to consumers online, and over the last three years have continued this growth to over £30m turnover.
This high paced evolution has also included significant investment to establish its own national distribution network and embark on an exciting retail store roll-out expansion strategy. The business now has a workforce of over 200 employees and it recently opened its 17th store, with more openings planned to take its national footprint to 25 stores by July this year.
Across the Flooring Superstore, Direct Wood Flooring and Grass Direct brands it provides a large range of floor covering products to renovate the home; everything from carpets and vinyl to hard flooring, including premium wood and luxury vinyl tiles. Online it offers a free sampling service for all consumers delivered direct to their home, whilst in store, customers are advised by an experienced, friendly and knowledgeable team of sales professionals in a modern showroom style store layout.
Through its in-house national distribution and delivery network the business is able to deliver its entire product range to 99% of UK postcodes within 48 hours with a 2-hour delivery window, taking full control of the end-to-end customer experience and providing market leading levels of service.
Growth Partner’s investment, along with Richard’s strategic insight and expertise in the home services and improvement sectors will support Dan and his team to embark on a growth plan to build a footprint of 100 stores across the UK. Experienced flooring entrepreneur Glen Toomes has invested alongside Growth Partner and joins the business as Chairman with Growth Partner Investment Director Alex Marsh also joining the board as non-executive Director.
Growth Partner was advised by Andy Francey at Freeths while Connection Retail was advised by Katherine Hay-Heddle and Imogen Holland at Wardhadaway. Ian Robinson at Sentio Partners provided financial due diligence and Angus Allan at Clive Owen advised the shareholders.
Connection Retail Chief Executive, Dan Foskett said ”When Growth Partner first approached us we weren’t looking for investment but the more we understood about the way they operate and the level of experience and strategic advice that Richard could bring to the business it soon turned into a very exciting opportunity.
“We’ve already built up a really strong relationship with Alex working through the investment process which has been a very positive experience and we’ve identified lots of great ideas and strategic opportunities to grow the business.
“Our aim has always been to transform the flooring industry and become the market leader. With this investment we are confident we have all the necessary experience and expertise around the table to do exactly that.”
Growth Partner Investment Director, Alex Marsh added “In an increasingly challenging retail environment Dan and his team have established an agile operating model, capitalising on the consumer shift towards e-commerce for home improvement products whilst also rolling out a scalable and complimentary retail model.
“Dan and his team have done an outstanding job to grow the business to its current size in such a short space of time and we’ll be drawing upon Richard Harpin’s strategic insight to further accelerate growth. Growth Partner is delighted to be backing such a talented and ambitious entrepreneurial team and we’re excited to be working with Dan, Michael, Glen and Jason to build a market leading business.”