The Sheen Bed Company
June 9, 2012,
► Type of retailer: Independent mattress store.
► Setting the scene: Located at the end of a row of mansion houses, this retailer has prime corner real estate in London. Home furnishings retailers have been based here for decades, and the site has been home to Sheen Bed for almost 20 years.
► Why we visited: Big retailers are getting bigger in the U.S. - and in the United Kingdom. We wanted to see how a bedding independent is faring in London, where rents are high and retail competition is tough.
|James Keen of Hypnos stands outside
London retailer The Sheen Bed
|A Hypnos mattress is shown with
a bedroom set at The Sheen Bed
► What we liked: The layout of the rooms in The Sheen Bed Company provides some privacy for consumers who want to lie on the beds and give them a good test. This store has the feel of a home rather than a big, boring mattress showroom. The retailer takes a personal approach to the business and emphasizes service, aiming to set itself apart from other retailers. The experienced sales associates emphasize better sleep and avoid getting into a coil count battle when selling innerspring beds, the dominant type of bedding in the United Kingdom. The emphasis is on comfort, not counts. It was nice to see a familiar brand on the floor: Pure LatexBliss. The latex beds are produced in Shelton, Conn., and shipped across the Atlantic. The retailer says the latex line adds a more contemporary feel to its product lineup.
► What surprised us: The retailer is owned by Hypnos, an innerspring producer whose history in the U.K. dates back more than 100 years. Hypnos has long been a supplier to The Sheen Bed Company and knew it was a strong multi-brand retailer. And it was impressed with the strong customer base surrounding the store and its potential growth as an independent operator.