Iconic Macclesfield furniture and home furnishings retailer Arighi Bianchi is expanding on several fronts – at home and abroad – as it looks to diversify in line with the changing retail landscape.
The firm, thought to be the oldest family-owned furniture business in the UK, is focusing on online sales growth and eyeing a roll-out of its successful cafe-bar concept.
With the third and fourth generations of the Bianchi family at the helm, the £20m-turnover company is responding to meet increasing demand from younger shoppers.
They’re also looking to better fulfil requirements for Britons seeking to furnish their overseas holiday homes.
Arighi Bianchi was founded in 1854 by Italian cabinet makers Antonio Arighi and Antonio Bianchi.
Today the company employs nearly 170 staff across its store, cafe-bar and three distribution centres in Macclesfield.
Arighi Bianchi’s 70,000sq ft store in Macclesfield is a labyrinthine emporium showcasing sofas, beds, tables and chairs and accessories across four floors.
Customers range in age from 25 to 95 and include celebrities and royals.
Director Nick Bianchi commented: “The store is full of interesting items, has a touch of charm and is a bit quirky.
“We pride ourselves on being a place of interest where people can come and visit, browse and shop.”
Recently-added kitchen and floristry concessions have added to the appeal, he says, along with expanded ranges of the Arighi Bianchi and Abode furniture brands which are sourced from across Europe.
Nick added: “We are seeing growth in sales among younger customers, and the internet is a factor in this.
“They probably knew us as a place where their mum and dad shopped and feared we would be out of their price bracket, but they are pleasantly surprised by what they find.”
With a fleet of 30 liveried vans and lorries, Arighi Bianchi is geared up for increased internet orders and for rising demand from owners of second homes in countries such as Spain and France.
Furniture ordered for overseas destinations is shipped by container, and Arighi Bianchi’s drivers meet the container at the port in one of our vans and provide a white glove delivery service.
“It’s a growing part of our business,” enthused Mr Bianchi.
Another area for potential expansion is a roll-out of the Café Bar Arighi concept.
Nick explained that the 120-seater venue, overseen by ‘Geoff the Chef’ is a big draw for customers.