Sussex Beds is planning a massive expansion over the next decade following its most successful year yet - thanks in part to printing its own display material in-house with HP DesignJet.
Founded in 1981, Sussex Beds is an independent and family business now managed by Steve Pickering - son of original founders John and Sandra Pickering - alongside his siblings and cousin. A specialist retailer in beds, mattresses and bedroom furniture, Sussex Beds sells its own-brand products in nine stores across its home county and neighbouring Kent and via an ecommerce platform.
However, as part of its ambitious ten-year strategy it intends to expand to 40 physical stores by 2030, following its most successful year in terms of revenue and net profit in 2019. Steve Pickering explains that this growth has been supported by bringing its display printing in-house with HP DesignJet technology.
"The retail sector has struggled over recent years due to changing buying habits and we were not immune to a decline in footfall," says the Sussex Beds Managing Director. "We decided to take drastic action and invested in our own printing equipment that would allow us to create a brand for our premium products while producing all other in-store display material we needed. We had always used HP desktop printers and knew the brand was reliable, so invested in an HP DesignJet Z6610."
The HP DesignJet Z6610 production printer is designed to deliver speed, durability and reliability. It runs HP Vivid Photo Inks to produce water- and fade-resistant prints with vibrant colours, while the system seamlessly integrates with existing workflows for easy operation.
Initially, Sussex Beds used its DesignJet Z6610 to only print posters, but quickly saw its potential to produce POS, wall coverings, ticketing and detailed labels for mattresses that help customers make an informed purchasing decision. In 2019, a second DesignJet Z6610 joined the first at a dedicated print room at Sussex Beds' new headquarters in St Leonards.
"We love the turnaround speed and the flexibility offered by the DesignJet printers - and the associated reduction in costs," says Steve. "For example, printing window posters for all of our stores in-house costs one-tenth of the price of outsourcing that project.
"We can also make changes at minimal cost. Every shop is different, so we can test and measure the performance of a display project before rolling it out across several stores, at a much lower price point than outsourcing."
As well as 2019 breaking its business records, Sussex Beds has seen significant growth since installing the first HP system four years ago, including seeing its average order value increase by 60 per cent, conversions by eight per cent and gross profit by five per cent. The most influence has been recorded across its higher-end ranges, but Sussex Beds has seen growth across its whole company.
"I can't overestimate how influential the HP printers have been on those metrics," says Steve. "The investment has been so crucial to our business - there has been a huge transformation."
March 2020 will see Sussex Beds open its tenth physical store, in Royal Tunbridge Wells, with more to follow.
For more information on Sussex Beds, please visit www.sussexbedcentre.co.uk.