The Fixer revisits Kettley’s

Those of you familiar with Karl’s involvement in last year’s series of The Fixer with Alex Polizzi may remember Kettley’s, the Yeadon furniture retailer that was given a new lease of life on the show.

In the months after Karl helped to turn the store around, it enjoyed a 22 per cent like-for-like sales increase on the previous year.

Click here to read about what Karl did to help Kettley’s.

On Tuesday 30 April BBC Two will show The Fixer Returns, in which Alex revisits Kettley’s to see how it has done over the past 12 months, and how well Karl’s advice has been carried out.

Click here for more information on the show on the BBC website.

Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll shop.

Kettley’s sits pretty with 22 per cent like-for-like sales increase after VT’s TV makeover. 

The production team of the BBC Two TV show Alex Polizzi – The Fixer were so impressed with Karl’s input into the first business to feature in the series, Courtyard Bridal, that they asked him to help with a Yeadon (Leeds) family furniture store, Kettley’s.

As retail consultant to the show, Karl was asked for his expert feedback and advice on how to improve the customer experience and product presentation instore. But this time, Karl and his Visual Thinking Team were also asked to develop the improvements to branding and store design and to carry out the store makeover including visual merchandising and display.

This was a furniture business firmly stuck in the past. For many years Kettley’s had focused on a narrow customer base, principally serving the elderly and people with health related comfort and mobility needs. Over time, the business had established its self-styled reputation as the ‘North’s leading chair specialist’.

Kettley’s hadn’t updated the store for many years and it showed. The dowdy, cluttered and uninspiring retail environment did not communicate what the business was all about or play to its strengths i.e. it did not say products for a ‘comfortable home’, more like a ‘care home’.

Grubby carpets, strip lighting and magnolia painted breeze blocks defined the look instore.  Showrooms were over stocked with beige patterned upholstery, dark wood furniture, plastic covered mattresses and non-coordinating home accessories. Furnishing ideas and specialist products were not well presented to show ideas or to promote the features and benefits.

Window displays lacked impact, furniture was poorly grouped, room sets were not used and the chaotic store layout was confusing, off-putting and potentially hazardous for customers.

And whilst the family members provided high levels of service themselves, signage and point of sale instore lacked professionalism and did not effectively communicate the service offer. Overall, Kettley’s did not offer a convenient, easy or inspiring shopping experience. Joyless!

Visual Thinking developed a new brand identity for Kettley’s, working with designers to create a modern, appropriate and thoughtfully considered new look and feel. This included a smart new logo and visual identity package for the business which could be applied to signage, interior design elements and service messaging. We replanned the layout, and refurbished and reorganised the three floors and ten showrooms which make up the store.

Throughout this process we encouraged the family to think about the products being sold. We helped them to remove excess choice and to reduce duplication to improved space use and increase clarity to the offer choice. Part of the process was to make fewer products have better space to create a perception of higher quality and reflect the price positioning. This was a big challenge for the family, who firmly believed in filling up every inch of the space! Overall, there was a strong case to recommend and adopt a ‘less = more approach’.

The Visual Thinking team and contractors completed the makeover in a total of four days. New carpets were fitted, the last ones being put down over twenty years earlier, the shop was redecorated throughout using the updated brand look, with new signage inside and out.

Our visual merchandising and brand delivery improvements also included implementing dedicated living, dining, sleeping areas with room sets for ideas and inspiration. Specialist mobility chairs and beds were given their own dedicated areas. Overall, our team delivered a new environment with sensitive rebranding, updated store design and visual merchandising.

The biggest effect of the finished makeover was on John Butler, the owner of Kettley’s. Throughout the process, John had many reservations about the changes being planned to his store.  Ultimately, John was asked to stay away from the store whilst the makeover was taking place. This created anxiety amongst the other family members who were nervous of his reaction to the changes that they were helping to implement without him scrutinising their every decision and watching every move, as was his normal style and way of working.

When the makeover was revealed, his reaction was incredible and he LOVES his new store.

The first sale of the day was a £1,000 mobility bed from the new ‘mobility sleep shop’, thus proving that the grouping of these specialist and high value products was the right decision. To add to this, overall there was an extremely positive reaction from customers old and new, with most people asking if the all the products had been changed too. NO, it was just presented more effectively!

TV Producer, Naomi Templeton, of Twofour Broadcast said of the makeover: “You did a fantastic job and the results were breathtaking. It was by far the best interior makeover I have seen in my long career of TV makeovers and I felt completely confident in you all.”

See the pictures of Kettley’s new look on Visual Thinking’s Facebook page.

You can watch the episode on BBC iPlayer here.