Cousins (retail)

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Cousins (retail)
IndustryRetail
Founded1985
Headquarters
Oldbury
Number of locations
4
ProductsFurniture
Websitehttps://cousins.com

Cousins is one of the largest family-run, British retail chains specialising in furniture, flooring and home accessories. The company was founded in 1985, and is now headquartered in Oldbury, West Midlands. They have 4 stores in Dudley, Birmingham, Shrewsbury and Newcastle-under-Lyme.

History

The origins of the family business date back to William Cole in 1921, who specialised in trading reclaimed materials from household demolitions. The business grew into a builders' merchants, and he also built a private zoo attraction.

Inspired by their grandfather, brothers Robert and Edward Shotton along with their cousin William founded Cousins Furniture in 1984. The first store opened on the Warwick road in Tyseley, Birmingham in August 1985. The store was officially opened by the famous comedian and impressionist Faith Brown.

In 1996, Cousins Furniture opened a second store in Dudley, just off the Bypass. The store was opened by Jack Duckworth from Coronation Street.

In 1997 a new Head Office and distribution centre was purchased in Oldbury, just off from junction 2 of the M5 motorway.

A separate onsite clearance store selling budget and end of the line furniture was opened in 1998 next to the Dudley store.

Due to the success of the Birmingham and Dudley stores, Cousins Furniture expanded into the North West. A third flagship store was opened in the Manchester area in 2006, located on Regent Road, Salford. The following year, the company opened a new warehouse close to the Manchester Airport to improve the logistics of their northern deliveries.

In 2011, Robert took the position of Chairman at the company. His sons, John and Matthew, were appointed to Managing Director and Retail Director, respectively.

The running of Cousins Furniture continues to be shared between the Shotton family. John purchases fabric and leather collections, while Matthew buys beds and oversees the stores. Edward is still involved with the business, continuing to purchase dining and bedroom. His son, Tom, has also joined the business and he manages the Dudley store.

In 2013, Cousins joined Furniture Ombudsman.

In February 2020, Cousins announced the closing down sale of their Salford store. The business cited the decision due plans to establish further business in the midlands, whilst the site would be sold for redevelopment.[1]

Shortly afterwards in July that year, Cousins Furniture announced that they had purchased and would rebrand the sites belonging to the former furniture retailer Alan Ward who had gone into liquidation. This acquisition made Cousins the largest independent family-run furniture retailer in the Midlands.[2] They added Alan Ward's Shrewsbury and Newcastle-under-Lyme stores to their portfolio.

Stores

Cousins’ suppliers are brands and manufacturers from Britain and all over the world. Big British brands which are sold online and instore include: Ercol, G Plan, Parker Knoll, and Relyon. In 2017, Cousins Furniture became the first retail partner to open a Rest Assured showroom as part of the brand’s plans to launch their ranges across a number of retail environments[3]. Each store has ranges that vary from sofas, to dining, bedroom, and accessories.

Products are individually displayed by department and are accessorised to create interior design ideas. Wood samples, along with fabric and leather swatches are also provided to show the options available.

Each store has a home accessories area incorporating pictures, mirrors and lighting. There is also a restaurant which opens daily, and serves freshly prepared meals.

Cousins Furniture have their own exclusive range of custom made sofas and chairs. Their slogan for this service is: ‘If you've got a seating dilemma, we have the solution’. This service enables customers to specify their own exact design and personal comfort to suit their own needs. Known as Cousins Bespoke, the studios are situated in the Dudley and Shrewsbury stores.

The Manchester store has also been featured in episodes of Coronation Street. The store was also partially used for Phillip Schofield’s series How to spend it well at Christmas, in which Coronation Street’s Simon Gregson tested new board games with his family.

References

  1. "Salford store to be closed for redevelopment".
  2. "Cousins buys Alan Ward".
  3. "Rest Assured launches into Cousins Dudley and Birmingham". www.furniturenews.net.

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