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Scotts & Co. adds to its portfolio of catalogue brands

Sales and marketing departments fall behind in digital transformation projects

Multi-channel retail group, Scotts & Co., publisher of catalogue titles such as Scotts of Stow, Gift Discoveries, Expert Verdict and Bloom, has acquired the Staffordshire-based business of the Garden Fragrance Company from Bridgehill Direct Ltd, for an undisclosed sum.

Established in 2014, The Garden Fragrance Company publishes an 80-page catalogue 6 times a year and mails it to several hundred thousand customers. The catalogue and its website feature a broad range of perfumes, room fragrances, soaps, creams, oils, tonics, toiletries and other gifts.

The brands that the catalogue showcases include well-known names like Woods of Windsor, Yardleys, Bronnley, Arran Aromatics, Cath Kidston and Heathcote & Ivory as well as Garden Fragrance branded products and a plethora of small independent artisan brands. The Garden Fragrance Company is believed to be the only specialist direct-to-consumer fragrance catalogue published in the UK.

Graham Martin, the entrepreneur who founded The Garden Fragrance Company and has also worked with many household charity and retail brands within the sector, commented on the deal:

“Having established and run the business profitability for eight years, I wanted to find a partner who could assist me in accelerating growth. Scotts has the largest database of affluent mail order customers in the country and the demographics of their customer file seems perfectly suited to our catalogue. We have now laid plans for a doubling in the size of the business in 2021.”

The acquisition comes in the wake of record growth at Scotts & Co. in 2020. Having doubled its catalogue mailings from 15.5m to 33m in the past twelve months, the company has grown sales by 40 per cent and achieved record profits. The size of its active customer database has grown by 50 per cent in just nine months and the company is forecasting further strong growth in the current year.

Scotts CEO/Chairman, Nigel Swabey, commented:

“I am delighted that Graham has agreed to join forces with us. He will continue to run the business and manage the product range but we plan to scale up catalogue circulation very fast. I am convinced that our top 500,000 customers, at least, will respond well to the Garden Fragrance Company catalogue.”

As the UK’s most prolific catalogue mailer, Swabey is a strong advocate of direct mail.

“Catalogue mailings will be the main driver of growth for The Garden Fragrance Company. Many of our competitors in multi-channel retail are still marching to the drumbeat of the Internet and continue to undervalue the importance of direct mail. Our web-based business is now approaching 40% of group sales, but customers acquired through online advertising are less loyal and have a much lower lifetime value. Offline advertising using catalogues mailed to lists of prospective buyers and long-dormant inactive buyers can drive high volumes of traffic to our websites and generate new customers at a fraction of the cost of those acquired though online advertising. And direct mail is a channel that is far more scalable. A single mailing can bring in over 30,000 new customers in the space of a few weeks.

Introduction made by Expert Register

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