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RETAILING


“WE’RE RESPONDING TO HOW PEOPLE WANT TO BEHAVE AND BUY”


Online builders’ merchant, Construction Materials Online has reported rapid growth over the past two years and has now re-branded as cmostores.com, as it lays the foundation for new, exciting opportunities on the horizon. Fiona Garcia finds out more


boasts a turnover of £39million; having climbed from £18million in 2016 and posted growth of close to 50% each year. “KCP supported us in re-investing the profits in future growth,” says Mr Dunkley. “They can see the huge potential in the business,”


This month, the online firm


re-branded as cmostores.com and has launched a new up-to-date visual identity set to take it through the next 10 years, with new logos for the business’s four specialist websites: roofingsuperstore. co.uk, drainagesuperstore.co.uk, insulationsuperstore.co.uk, and doorsuperstore.co.uk. Cmostores.com recently moved to a brand new office and warehouse, which has the capacity to house 250 staff – a size Mr Dunkley says he “absolutely believes” the company will get to. “We continue to push the envelope,” he says. “I was probably the only person who was disappointed with 46% growth this year because I thought we could get to 50%,” he laughs.


And, with big plans in the pipeline,


there is little doubt we will see cmostores.com expand further very soon. “We will be acquiring


new


their business, Southwest Roofing Supplies


C Ltd, to


onstr uction Materials Online (CMO) was the brainchild of two ex-roofers, who – having sold


construction


building supplies giant, SIG trading – saw a gap in the market for an online roofing business. CMO was launched in 2008 and saw organic growth every year, “even without


10 DIY WEEK 22 FEBRUARY 2019


advertising”, explains current CEO Andrew Dunkley. By


2017, the business was


in need of further investment and, says Mr Dunkley, “a more professional background to provide more growing power”. Cue an £8.65million cash injection from private equity house, Key Capital Partners (KCP) in April of that year, and the business has been expanding rapidly ever since. Today it employs 100 people and


businesses or launching them,” Mr Dunkley explains. “We are actively exploring a number of store launches and I believe the model is capable of going up to 10 categories.” He adds: “I would love to be launching two new stores a year, either organically or through acquisition.”


The acquisition of fellow Plymouth-based business, DoorWeb, in 2018 resulted in the launch of doorsuperstore.co.uk as part of the online platform. Mr Dunkley said the deal was a great way to test the integration process for future new additions, adding that it was a smooth operation, with the new superstore launched on


cmostores.com in just four months. A dedicated trade website and


trade club is also launching this year, with a view to growing that side of the business. This will give trade customers a personalised portal with streamlined ordering, simplified paperwork, speedy quotes and invoicing, and a hotline to their account manager. Currently, tradesmen only account for 30% of cmostores. com’s customer mix, however, Mr Dunkley describes that as an “ever- increasing


figure” and believes


the launch of the new website will see that shift. “We are responding to demand,” he explains, adding: “We’ve got some great pricing, so our model appeals to the trade.”


Customers at its heart With the business, no doubt, taking share in the sector from traditional builders merchants and bricks-and- mortar retailers, Mr Dunkley says he often gets some negative feedback from competitors but explains: “I always tell them ‘we are only here because the customers want us to be here’. We are responding to how people want to behave and buy.” The online platform currently hosts 70,000 products – a figure that is set to grow, with the launch of 10,000 drainage products already underway. With the addition of direct shipping, cmostores.com is able to “offer price and product ranges that


mortar operations


research, which asked the industry what it needed and how we could make life easier for people buying building supplies,” he continues. “We compete hard on thousands of prices daily. People can order and get fast delivery – all at the touch of a button.”


www.diyweek.net


traditional brick and can’t match”,


says Mr Dunkley. “We’re responding to market


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