OC&C advises WorldStores on 25 million financing

06 March 2015 Consultancy.uk

WorldStores, one of UK’s leading online furniture retailers, has received an investment of £25 million from a consortium of investors, led by US bank Goldman Sachs. During the transaction the home and living products platform was advised by among others OC&C Strategy Consultants.

With an employee base of more than 350 people and annual sales in excess of £100 million, Worldstores is one of UK’s largest (online) retailers in the home and living products market. The company’s portfolio spans almost a million products from 1,800 brands. Worldstores’s main labels include Worldstores.co.uk, Casafina.co.uk, Modern.co.uk and Kiddicare.co.uk.

Worldstores

In recent years Worldstores has been growing strongly. The company was for instance named a member of Government's Future 50 most promising growth companies, and founders (Richard Tucker and Joe Murray) have been named ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ by accounting and consulting giant EY. On the back of the success, the company’s management team last year decided to attract a second round of investment – in the founding investment round Worldstores welcomed support from Balderton Capital, Advent Ventures and Serena Capital. With the addition capital, the platform aims at further accelerating its growth momentum, to be realised through up scaling its flash sales business (Casafina) and expansion of its product offering. In addition, Worldstores envisages a model where it can guarantee next-day delivery of large items such as furniture to >90% of the UK population 7 days a week, a feat which will require substantial investments in technology and logistics.

To manage the funding process, Worldstores hired OC&C Strategy Consultants, a UK-based strategy consultancy with a pan-European presence. Following an analysis of growth potential and capital funding requirements, the consultant advised the retailer throughout the target selection and negotiation phases up to deal close. Several options were considered, and following a positive due diligence on a consortium led by Goldman Sachs and closing the deal was formally announced yesterday. In total, the consortium has invested £25 million. As part of the funding round, David Reis, Executive Director and Head of Technology Investments at Goldman Sachs in Europe, will join the Advisory Board of WorldStores.

Joe Murray - Andrew Wolff and Alex Birch

“We are pleased to have gained the trust of such a formidable investor to support our vision for the company in this important growth stage”, says Joe Murray, Co-CEO and Co-Founder of WorldStores. Andrew Wolff, Head of the Merchant Banking Division of Goldman Sachs for EMEA, adds: “We have been impressed by the success of WorldStores and are pleased to back such a high-quality founder led management team. We see favourable dynamics in the UK online furniture market and share the management team’s vision to strengthen the company’s leadership position and deliver value to its customers”.

According to Alex Birch, Partner at OC&C Strategy Consultants and lead advisor for the engagement, WorldStores is well positioned to capitalise on the market potential. “We see evidence that consumers will continue to migrate online in the home and garden categories. We believe that the company’s extensive product offering, differentiated delivery model and highly scalable technology platform position WorldStores very well to win a share of this growth”.

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