Granite Transformations retail network sales rose by a record 24.8% in the franchise’s latest monthly figures, with a raft of recent showroom openings yet to impact on revenue, suggesting further growth to come. This chimes in with official third-quarter returns that reveal the strongest growth in Britain’s retail sales sector, since the pre-recession first quarter of 2008. Targeting affordable, hassle-free kitchen makeovers, with its innovative ‘top that fits on top’ work surface concept, Granite Transformations’ business model has remained remarkably recession-proof, with several of its top franchise owners set to exceed £1 million in annual sales and the UK network as a whole recording positive growth.
The upsurge in customer orders will create a healthy pipeline of installation jobs over the next quarter and Granite Transformations anticipates a requirement for trained fabricators and fitters to carry out the extra work. Although the franchisor provides a head office-based ‘Flying Fitters’ team to help franchisees to cope with seasonal peaks in demand, it foresees a need for more full-time installers across the country and invites those with kitchen fitting experience to get in touch.
Now diversifying into bathroom makeovers alongside its established kitchen business and adding parent company Trend’s expansive glass mosaic tile collection to its retail offering, Granite Transformations has focused its marketing and sales effort on the over 55’s age group, a target audience often ignored by other retail brands. This demographic has huge spending power and a keen interest in home improvements and gardening, opting to ‘improve not move’ in the property market, and Granite Transformations has capitalised on this by siting franchised showrooms and merchandising displays in garden centres up and down the country. This so-called ‘concession franchise’ enabled Granite Transformations to reduce the initial investment, at a time when banks were reluctant to lend, and recruit high calibre franchise owners, who might otherwise have been deterred.
Founded eighteen years ago, the global Granite Transformations franchise passed the million worktop installations milestone earlier this year, operating through 250 showrooms across four continents, and the UK Chief Operating Officer, Danny Hanlon, outlined the brand’s international expansion strategy to the Franchise Council of Australia last month (pictured). This represented something of a homecoming for Australian-born Danny, who was Granite Transformations’ first franchise owner, in Perth, and was closely involved in the franchise’s expansion across Australia, into the United States and the UK, and now other overseas territories. He noted that Britain’s smaller housing stock and distinctive high street retail scene demanded modifications to the organisation’s business model, not least the need for covered workshops and dust-free conditions, as opposed to fabricating on-site under the Australian or Californian sun.
The latest UK network sales returns also confirm that black is still the most popular worktop colour amongst British homeowners, compared with a preference for brown and earthen tones in the States and light-reflecting white and grey finishes in Australia. Black Star, Nero Stella, Black Diamond and mottled black Sachi all regularly feature in Granite Transformations’ top ten selling colours, although the trend toward all-white kitchens has seen White Star and Hydra White surge in popularity. Sometimes overlooked, beige is another favourite worktop colour, with Royal Ivory, Perla di Sabbia and King Ivory among the neutral finishes chosen to set off today’s minimalist kitchens.