How we do business

With 63 businesses and operations in four countries, we are Europe's largest distributor of floorcoverings.

Headlam provides the distribution channel between suppliers and customers of floorcoverings, providing suppliers with an unparalleled route to market for their products, and its customers with the broadest product offering supported by excellent customer service and next day delivery.

Built up over the last 25 years and employing 2,427 people (as at 31 December 2017), Headlam has the greatest overall customer penetration in the UK and Continental Europe marketplace with an extensive distribution network enabling rapid delivery of almost 22,000 product units (‘SKUs’). Through its market-leading capabilities and emphasis on the supplier and customer proposition, Headlam has supported the development and growth of both its suppliers and customers.

Headlam enables suppliers to focus on economic manufacturing without having to replicate a costly distribution channel for their focused product portfolio. Headlam’s distribution network ensures that customers receive products more efficiently and within the typically short timescales required, whilst also supporting suppliers with the positioning and marketing of their products.

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Headlam’s customer base comprises principally independent retailers and flooring contractors and spans both the residential and commercial sectors, with the residential sector generating approximately two-thirds of annual revenue. While also operating in a number of more specialised market segments and distributing a number of niche products, the Company’s core business is characterised by a high volume of small value orders, reflecting a predominance of orders for single room refurbishment.

The Company had 71,257 active customer accounts at 31 December 2017 (67,807 in the core business), with the breadth and strength of customer relationships achieved through the Company operating 63 individual businesses across the UK and Continental Europe (France, Switzerland and the Netherlands). Each business operates under their own unique trade brand and utilises their individual sales teams, thereby increasing the sales opportunity into the customer base and ultimately the Company’s overall market penetration. By virtue of its market penetration, Headlam is involved with every facet of, and participant in, the floorcoverings industry.

The multiple business approach is additionally supported by the huge selection of floorcoverings on offer combined with the relationship-driven and regionalised nature of the marketplace. Sales representatives and delivery drivers are the main interface with the customers, with the latter typically delivering to the same customer on a daily basis.

Headlam enables customers to satisfy the end-consumers needs through offering the broadest range of products on a next day delivery basis, with end-consumers invariably wanting the product installed quickly once the purchase decision has been made. Customers are supported by Headlam’s frequent and multiple sales representatives’ visits, customer service, Point of Sale (‘POS’) materials, market awareness of new product lines and trends, and centralised financial and other resources including credit terms.

The Company’s extensive distribution network has been established over the last 25 years through considerable financial investment and technical and operational expertise, and represents a significant barrier to entry to competitors and potential new entrants. It currently comprises over 67 million cubic feet of warehouse capacity and its value is underpinned by property, plant and equipment assets totalling £101.6 million (net book value as at 31 December 2017). In 2017, 5.5 million customer orders were processed and delivered utilising a fleet of 404 commercial vehicles. Almost 9% of orders were place on-line during 2017, with strategies in place to grow this percentage.

The core distribution network comprises four national distribution hubs in the UK and 18 regional distribution centres across the UK and Continental Europe, augmented by smaller warehouse premises, trade counters, showrooms and specification centres. The establishment of trade counters, showrooms and specification centres has been aimed at generating further sales through expanding the physical footprint and being closer to the customer, enhancing the regionalised customer service proposition, increasing awareness of the trade brands, and appealing to segments of the customer base who prefer a collection service.

The Company continues to invest in the network to support growth whilst also focusing on its optimisation to improve operational efficiency and cost-effectiveness, and ultimately its profitability.

Through organic growth, acquisition and optimisation of operations, Headlam will look to build on its market-leading core business whilst simultaneously diversifying and broadening its overall market position with entry into or increased weightings in more specialist market segments or product lines. These opportunities will be pursued across the UK and Continental Europe helping Headlam cement its position as the leading distributor across the European floorcoverings industry.