QLM, in Leeds.
Rebecca Wayman

Longstanding independent retailer invests £500k to withstand current high street strain

An independent Leeds-based retailer has invested £500k to transform from a discount shop into a ‘premium’ furniture showroom.

QLM House and Home, in North Leeds, opened in 1997 in a 15,000 sq ft retail space on Northside Retail Park, Meanwood. Since its beginning, it has stocked over 20,000 discounted products - from stationery to garden tools.

QLM’s founder, Maurice Esofsky, along with his wife Debby, have altered the entire store into a furniture showroom, stocking and supplying living, dining and bedroom furniture, as well as working with Hallmark to create a standalone store.

Debby commented on the store’s transformation, saying: “We’ll be very unique in the area and there’s nobody else nearby offering such a wide, quality product range across two floors.

“It’s a formula that our customers have loved over the years, so we hope they will still come to us for their next big purchase.

“Noticing a change in the retail landscape, we decided to bring in this new retail proposition and fill a gap in the North Leeds market for desirable and upmarket household furniture.”

Maurice and Debby, of QLM.

Maurice learned his trade working on market stalls 40 years ago, progressing to become managing director of a Yorkshire-based discount chain, which operated 50 stores across the North of England before it was sold in 1996.

He founded QLM in 1997 and it now employs a team of 15, with an annual turnover in excess of £2m, which is predicted to rise by 30 per cent this year.

As part of this latest investment, the store’s entire shopfront and branding has been completely replaced, a customer coffee station has been installed and the ground floor now showcases more than 100 sofas, arranged in 27 different room sets, rise and recliner chairs along with dining and occasional furniture.

Maurice added: “I’ve worked in the retail industry for more than 40 years selling discount, low margin, value products but the time has arrived, due to outside influences such as the internet and heavy cost cutting by bigger chains, to move away from this extremely competitive sector in order to build a more customer service led environment…

“As well as offering value for money and exceptional customer service, successful retailers have to identify trends and react to the market… That’s what we’re doing at QLM.

“We pride ourselves on offering customers this experience, along with expert advice and a price promise to ensure we offer the same great value that you might find online.”

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