‘New funding will move brand forward,’ says Bathstore CEO

Bathroom retailer bathstore has secured an asset-based lending (ABL) facility to support its growth strategy.

The Royal Bank of Scotland facility will help to further support the company’s expansion, providing working capital funding to facilitate an increase in stock levels.

It will also support the company as it makes investments in key areas of its product range.

“Having funds available means we can potentially make an acquisition or put more investment into stores,” explained chief executive Gary Favell. “So it’s really just to move the brand forward. We’re still looking at double-digit growth.”

The former MFI boss said it was too early to judge the impact of the EU referendum decision, but hinted that consumer buying patterns may be easier to gauge by the end of the year.

“September and October is the seasonal high for kitchens and bathrooms – the pre-Christmas period,” he said. “The time to reflect on whether [the vote to leave the EU] has had a negative effect on short-term projects will be November. Our fits are still at really good levels. I honestly can’t read it yet.”

Commenting on the recent spate of price increases, particularly among companies buying in dollars, Favell said: “I can understand people putting their prices up because the dollar has taken a hit as we all know, and I can see that it’s not one or two per cent. But we’ve not raised our prices. We buy a lot of product in dollars, but we decided to ride it and keep good value for the consumer. There are no plans to put our prices up. We’re not as big as Crosswater, but we’re up there with the rest of them as a direct purchaser from China.”

He also warned that those who make knee-jerk reactions to the Brexit decision risk making the situation worse than it really is.

“I think if you’re not careful it could be a perfect storm,” he said. “People’s confidence wanes a bit, they see prices go up and all you’re doing is fuelling the fire. So we’re just trying to keep a steady ship. I know a lot of distributors are. That’s their call.”

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