Retailer’s turnover up 60 per cent

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An online business which has grown to become one of the UK’s leading specialist suppliers of graphics materials has seen its turnover rise by 60 per cent in one year.

In the year to April 2012, GraphicsDirect.co.uk increased its turnover to £1.6m, and the company is now planning further expansion.

The firm, which operates from a warehouse and offices at Tockwith, near Wetherby, supplies graphics materials to design studios, universities, colleges, schools, individual artists and students.

Founders Chris Booth and Paul Hawkridge, who started the GraphicsDirect.co.uk business from a farm shed outside Knaresborough in 1998, have expanded the company to employ a total of eight staff including sales executives, web designers and warehouse staff.

“We have grown our share in the graphics supplies market, but also we have started to deliver e-commerce and fulfilment services for other graphics brands, which has utilised our warehousing and staff more effectively, as well as generating additional revenues,” said director Chris Booth.

“Both business customers and consumers are actively looking for better and better value on every purchase they make, and our online model does benefit from this trend. As people seek out the lowest cost items online, we are attracting new customers organically, which is great.”

There are 1,600 graphics products available on the website including best-selling lines by 3M, Pantone, Letraset and Rotring, and the firm ships to more than 15,000 customers each year.

Director Paul Hawkridge said: “From our beginnings as a local value alternative to high street graphics outlets, we have grown to become the preferred supplier to hundreds of schools and further and higher education centres, and we are seeing more and more opportunities in the market despite the tough economy.”

Mr Booth added: “The economy is such that you need to keep looking for new ways to utilise your skills, people and facilities or you will only stand still. We have a number of potential new areas of growth, and we are keen to keep working hard and investing in the business to keep it growing and to take advantage of our recent successes.”