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Kaymed Gel Beds

November 29th, 2008

At our last Kaymed factory visit we were introduced to a new range of gel beds. This gel has been trialed by other manufacturers, eg Silentnight, but no-one as yet has got it right. Kaymed, may have just cracked it.

Visco elastic memory foam is of course what Kaymed is known for. And the parallels are uncanny. Visco was a material that took along time to be set up in the correct way to make a successful sleeping surface. It took innovation and patience and alot of expertise. Those are qualities Kaymed have in abundance.

Gel looks to offer the same challenges and if anyone is up to the task its Kaymed. The material has all the right qualities and its exciting to lie on a bed that could be the next breakthrough in bed technology. Fingers crossed. Go for it Kaymed.

Our factory visit was fascinating by the way. These people are master craftsmen and technicians. The attention to detail to get the visco mix just write is incredible. Its an art as much as a science and I came away happy to recommend Kaymed visco over any other in the market place today.

VAT reduction

November 29th, 2008

VAT is being reduced from 17.5% to 15% as from Monday 1 December. So a bed that cost £100+VAT is now £115 rather than £117.50, ie a 2.13% reduction. Not 2.5%? Confused? That’s VAT for you.

Its been a hard year for price changes this year. Silentnight and Sealy have put up their prices twice. Some importers are putting on temporary “exchange rate” surcharges and some prices have just gone off the chart. Only 6 months ago we could sell a good chunky pine bunk bed for £99. Its now going up to £179. You have to rub your eyes.

The VAT reduction is of course great news. Petrol costs are coming down and the pound (sterling) has firmed up against the dollar, at least, over the last month. At $1.50 to the £1 its not good but at least its stable. One big increase for us this year has been the cost of steel and its effect on mattress spring costs. China got the blame and the word is they’re not using so much these days. 

So with luck we can start to find price cuts again.

Recession advice

November 19th, 2008

The rumour mill about companies in trouble is at full throttle. On the one hand I have only heard good things about the banks dealings with business overdrafts and letters of credit, but there is word out there that business financing is getting difficult. And trade is undeniably slow.

One example of a potential problem is that if our importers can’t get letters of credit from their bank, their foreign suppliers will refuse to supply them and we will find that stock promised to us just doesn’t arrive.

As a company we have a policy of paying for our beds and furniture on the nail but in the current climate even this policy may not be sufficient to secure stock. Our current bed buying strategy is to buy more back up stock and be sure that we try and take orders on stock we have, rather than stock that “is on the water”.

Advice for the public? My advice is if you think for a moment that the company you are buying from may go under then always use a credit card to pay. We may complain about the extravagant charges the card companies charge retailers but one service they do provide is a guarantee that if the company goes under the customer will get their money back.

20% off Sealy Promotion

November 13th, 2008

Our 20% off Sealy beds promotion is now under way. The radio commercials started yesterday and the press adverts today. You can view our current press advert in our promotions page. We had a huge success with our last Sealy bed and mattress promotion back in July. We sold over twice the number of Sealy beds than normal.  What will happen this time?

It does appear that trading conditions might be becoming tougher. However value for money is a commodity that never goes out of fashion and it is up to us to shout about it. This 20% off is real. No fancy price establishment tricks or exploiting the loopholes in trading standards regulations. If a customer buys a Sealy bed with us in the next 10 days they will pay 20% less. Simple as that.

To our staff I say go for it. To our customers I say, Sealy is the world’s number one bed supplier for a very good reason - Sealy make the best beds in the world. So grab a bargain that you will never regret. These beds are good at twice the price. My own favourite – The Ortholuxury – try it.

Archers Sleepcentre Year End Results

November 7th, 2008

Our financial year end was 31 October and this year is the first that we have required a statutory audit – its one of the drawbacks of our success and growth. First feedback is that the stocktake was a huge success. The auditors e mailed me to say they were amazed. Not one amendment, and of course I didn’t expect anything else.

Another healthy growth in turnover, 39%, and including our Uddingston franchise we are now just shy of £10m pa. As close as damn it 10% of the Scottish bed market (yes I know we are selling beds in England too- more of that to follow of course).

Stock levels are good, all the key ratios are good, so we should be able to announce another successful and very profitable year for the company. The results should be ready early December.

Meantime I’d like to thank the efforts of everyone in the company for their sterling work. Looks like big challenges ahead but we have seen past phase one of the recession. Let’s dig in and see off phase two. How many phases will there be? Stop worrying for goodness sake…..

Bed inflation due to drop in Sterling…

November 7th, 2008

The pound has dropped by 20% relative to the dollar – you now barely get $1.60 to the £1. And unfortunately most of our bed frames and bedroom furniture are bought in dollars.

We are waiting to see if the drop is temporary but it’s not looking good. So any day now there is going to be a big hike in prices I’m afraid. We can absorb a few percent but 20% is just too much. My advice is that now is the time to buy imported beds and bedroom furniture – for us to buy stock at the old prices and for customers to buy now before the prices go up.

Our consolation is that every furniture retailer is in the same boat. Who is going to blink first?

New Vans and Livery

November 7th, 2008

We have taken delivery of three new 7.5 ton bed delivery trucks that are being liveried up as we speak. Our new Archers sleepcentre logo is in place and we have bought an image of a sleeping girl to prove that you get a great night sleep in an Archers bed. I think the vans look great and I’m not sorry to see the old purple trucks going off to their retirement home. Bensons for Beds might buy them.

I feel we should give our new sleepcentre girl mascot a name. So when you see the vans and our girl, let me know your suggestions - nothing lewd or salacious please. And not Alison or Louise.

New Price Crash Promotions

October 24th, 2008

What a fantastic 10% off weekend bed sale we have just had. Today we poured over the sales figures and analysed which price reductions worked the best. Very interesting reading I can tell you. The result of all this analysis is that within the next few days Robert Hunter, our buyer, will announce a tranche of “Sleepcentre Specials” where we reduce the prices on selected beds, mattresses and bedroom furniture by up to 20%.

The trick in all of this is to sustain profitability and the win – win is when we offer the public a bed at a great price and we sell lots of them. Last weekend showed what’s possible. Value retailing is definitely the way the public are moving to and we are perfectly positioned to fulfil that customer demand.

Remember 100′s of beds 100′s of bargains is our slogan for a very good reason.

Archers Web Developments

October 24th, 2008

Our web developers have been busy over the last few weeks to prepare us for a major web marketing campaign. We are about to introduce a “next day” bed frame and mattress delivery service and offer our internet customers some unbelievable one-off web deals. The containers are arriving from China as we speak and some of the products are going to be out of this world at incredible prices.

We already have an enviable conversion rate both in store and on the web, so we know our bed product offerings are up to the job. However to commit to the type of web marketing spend that is planned (£400k) we need to be doubly sure that our web site and products are the very best.

So watch this space.

Archers New Image

October 24th, 2008

The roll out of our new Archers Sleepcentre signs and logos is starting Monday. Our Ayr bed store is the first to get the makeover. The old signs come down, the painters come in, the new signs go up, and by the end of the week, hey presto we should have a totally new look store. New footmats, new internal logos and banners and a fresh and modern fascia.

Our Great Western Road bed store in Glasgow and our Windsor Street furniture warehouse are also getting the treatment this week. The plan is then to take stock, see we are happy with the new look, and all our other bed stores will follow.

So any comments and suggestions are earnestly welcomed. We are going to give ourselves a week to “digest” the look and then press the button. The whole re branding will cost in excess of £20k – so we do want to get it right. Fingers crossed we like it and the public still recognise us as the same shop. We will still be the best place to buy beds, mattresses and bedroom furniture in the whole of Scotland. Just prettier.