The Problem Solver
“Seasalt invested millions in new technology, including new UK and international websites and industry-leading software allowing online orders to be fulfilled in stores.”
Seasalt, a member of Cornwall Chamber of Commerce, is a stylish and contemporary clothing brand that makes beautifully designed products woven with stories of Cornwall.
In 2020, non-essential retail closed and Seasalt, which had 71 UK stores at the time, was hit hard. The company has a strong physical high street presence so as the pandemic dragged on, and online shopping became the norm, it was clear Seasalt was going to have to change the way it worked to hold its position in the market.
Before the pandemic, stock in Seasalt shops was kept entirely separate to its warehouse stock; the warehouse served online orders, and shops sold face to face only. When the stores closed (and even when they re-opened) there was surplus stock in each, yet online orders couldn’t be fulfilled due to high demand. The pool of potential buyers was being restricted, which was affecting the selling price of the clothing. The company needed a solution – a way of fulfilling online orders using the stock held in stores.
Seasalt invested millions in new technology, including new UK and international websites and industry-leading software allowing online orders to be fulfilled in stores. The investment enabled a more customer-friendly shopping experience which has improved the service and brand experience of its customers. With online providing an ongoing opportunity for growth, Seasalt has also set up successful strategic third-party partnerships with Next, QVC, Marks & Spencer and Zalando in Europe.
The pandemic presented Seasalt with a significant problem which could easily have seen its profits plummet. Instead, the company saw a solution and embraced change. Seasalt stores declined by 57% throughout 2020 and into early 2021. However, in the year to January 29, 2022, sales rose by 38% to £96.4m, up from £69.7m. Crucially, 27% of online orders were fulfilled from stores during that period, enabling stock to be traded efficiently, and full price sales to be boosted, making an impact on the bottom line.
On the back of the success of the brewery site and events, Dal then set his sights on expanding both the range of products on offer and the footprint of the business. In December 2021, Dal agreed a 20-year lease on Christchurch Spire in Coventry city centre. The unique venue serves Dhillon’s beers and ales on tap, as well as offering hot drinks and food, to create a family friendly environment.
Dhillon’s next venture was the Sky Blue Tavern, a brand-new sports bar in the city centre, in partnership with Coventry City Football Club. The Tavern is a hub for Sky Blues fans to meet and enjoy a drink, whether on matchdays or non-matchdays, and helps to generate revenue and support for the club. As one of the only dedicated sports bars in Coventry, football and sports fans can watch the latest action on big screens and in individual booths.
Dhillon’s Brewery have now also secured several catering contracts, including with Historic Coventry Trust, where they provide food and beverage operations at the historic Drapers’ Hall, as well as at other Trust locations.
The company’s vision and long-term growth plan continues to be focused on its close association with Coventry whilst securing further locations and contracts, to build a sustainable, profitable business model whilst continuing Dal’s original passion for brewing beautifully crafted beer.
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