Nick Worthington, chief executive of furniture retailer Dreams, is bucking the retail slump with plans to double sales and open a host of new stores. Louisa Peacock met the man with king-size ambition.
Shoppers can buy just about anything to do with a good night's sleep at beds superstore Dreams, from king-size divan sets to company-branded aromatherapy candles. Since 2006, the retailer has opened its doors to customers on the internet, launched a new bed factory and has been crowned the nation's fastest growing retailer by Europe's 500.
Britain's biggest bed specialist, employing 1,500 staff, Dreams, racked up some impressive results last year. It achieved an 88% rise in profits, won furniture retailer of the year for a third time and its founders sold a majority stake of the business to a private equity firm for an estimated £200m windfall.
With more than 160 stores in operation, the retailer is on track to open another 36 stores this year alone, something that compares favourably to Britain's struggling retailers which have been hit by slowing consumer spending. With ambitious plans to double its turnover to £200m by 2011, it seems Nick Worthington stepped up to the top job at the right time.
Life's a dream
Worthington has been at Dreams since 1997, when he joined as a sales manager. He has worked his way up through the company, taking more responsibility for retail sales, and eventually leading on sales, distribution and logistics. He became managing director in 2006 and chief executive in March this year.
"Becoming chief executive was never something I felt I wanted, or needed, to achieve, although I do like to make all the decisions. At Dreams I've been fortunate enough to have been rewarded for the contribution I've made to the business and I take tremendous pride by what we've achieved in the past 10 years."
Key among those achievements has been the launch of three retail academies, one of the many people initiatives that Worthington has overseen. The academies began early last year in West Midlands and have since expanded to High Wy