£5m investment into floor coverings specialist

Growth Partner, the Yorkshire-based investment firm of HomeServe plc founder and CEO Richard Harpin, has completed a £5m investment into Connection Retail, a rapidly expanding business in the North East.

The business is in the flooring sector selling direct to consumer and has grown quickly to a £30m turnover via online trading as well as a footprint of 17 stores nationally.

It operates through its Flooring Superstore, Direct Wood Flooring and Grass Direct brands.

Growth Partner has invested to support further acceleration of Connection Retail’s ambitious plans.

The business will benefit from Harpin and Growth Partner’s strategic insight, with a view to rolling out a footprint of 100 stores over the next five years which will generate revenue in excess of £100m.

Connection Retail was founded by CEO Dan Foskett and COO Michael Roy in 2012, with investment and support from flooring industry veteran Jason Maguire.

The business now has a workforce of over 200 employees and it recently opened its 17th store, with more openings planned to take its national footprint to 25 stores by July this year.

Experienced flooring entrepreneur Glen Toomes has invested alongside Growth Partner and joins the business as chairman, with Growth Partner investment director Alex Marsh also joining the board as non-executive director.

Foskett said: ”When Growth Partner first approached us we weren’t looking for investment but the more we understood about the way they operate and the level of experience and strategic advice that Richard could bring to the business it soon turned into a very exciting opportunity.

“We’ve already built up a really strong relationship with Alex working through the investment process which has been a very positive experience and we’ve identified lots of great ideas and strategic opportunities to grow the business.

“Our aim has always been to transform the flooring industry and become the market leader. With this investment we are confident we have all the necessary experience and expertise around the table to do exactly that.”

Marsh added: “In an increasingly challenging retail environment Dan and his team have established an agile operating model, capitalising on the consumer shift towards e-commerce for home improvement products whilst also rolling out a scalable and complimentary retail model.

“Dan and his team have done an outstanding job to grow the business to its current size in such a short space of time and we’ll be drawing upon Richard Harpin’s strategic insight to further accelerate growth.

“Growth Partner is delighted to be backing such a talented and ambitious entrepreneurial team and we’re excited to be working with Dan, Michael, Glen and Jason to build a market leading business.”

Advisors for the transaction included: Freeths (Growth Partner, Legal) – led by Andy Francey; Sentio Partners (Growth Partner, FDD) – led by Ian Robinson; Lockton (Growth Partner, Insurance DD) – led by Kevin Stout; Ward Hadaway (Company, Legal) – led by Katherine Hay-Heddle and Imogen Holland; and Clive Owen (Shareholders, CF) – led by Angus Allan.