A leading furniture retailer is celebrating a busy year as it marks the first anniversary of its Derby store.
Lee Longlands, which has six stores nationwide, opened a new store on Exchange Street on December 18, last year and said trading had been strong as they establish a name for themselves in the city.
The company has been involved in the furniture business for more than 100 years, opening a store in Birmingham in 1902 and trading in Cheltenham for more than 40 years. They also have stores in Royal Leamington Spa and two in Abingdon, Oxfordshire.
Derby manager Darren Varney, 48, who has been in furniture retail since he was 18, said Lee Longlands was gaining a foothold in the town and they were looking forward to the next 12 months.
“It is fantastic to be in Derby. Our takings are good and customers are responding to what we have to offer. Our store is located in the former Co-operative building. There was a possibility that when it closed it could have remained a big, empty site, however, it is perfect for us and has a great atmosphere and design features.
“The opportunity to move into this store was one of the driving forces which brought Lee Longlands to Derby. We believe we should be located in the town rather than on a retail park because it helps keep the area vibrant. Before we moved in, the windows were blacked out and it was all rather depressing but now it is all bright and bustling and is a tremendous improvement to the city centre.”
Mr Varney said footfall was also increasing at the store, which sells well-known products such as Ercol, G Plan, Parker Knoll, Natuzzi, Vi-Spring and Tempur.
Robert Lee, director of Lee Longlands, said: “Derby as a city has a great heart and we are proud to have been a part of that for the past year. We have great plans for the store over the coming months and believe its presence on the high street will get stronger and stronger.
“It is great to be able to trade from such a well-known building and we hope people will pop down and take a look at how much it has changed.”
Plans for 2015 include a new sofa configurator studio. The store will house a hi-tech sofa studio, branded Imagine, with a touch screen wall-mounted configurator where people can create their perfect sofa – both in size, shape and fabric. The store is also due to house a new Natuzzi studio, focusing on leather sofas from the top Italian designer.
For more information about the furniture group visit www.leelonglands.co.uk.