Firebox is one of the UK's leading multi-channel retailers and specialises in identifying the latest trends in consumer products and uses its expertise in retail, distribution and marketing to bring the latest gadgets, games and gift ideas to market ahead of mainstream retailers.
Established in 1999 and backed by SPARK as a start-up, Firebox.com is a multi-channel operation incorporating ecommerce, a mail-order catalogue and telephone call centre. The company sources products from around the world in order to identify the 'next big thing' and many major high street retailers watch Firebox to identify products that will go on to become successful in the mass market.
Despite more challenging retail conditions this year, including increased competition and rising cost of imports from Asia, turnover for the year to January 2008 was £11.4m representing 16% growth from the previous year. However, operating margins reduced for the year reflecting the company’s investments in its US operations and in increasing its logistics capacity in the UK.
The US market continues to represent a significant growth opportunity for Firebox over the next few years due to the size of the market (approximately six times larger than the UK) and the lack of direct US based competitors in this sector. Firebox.com launched its service fully in the US this year with local distribution and customer service and already close to 4% of overall revenue for the group comes from this market. The initial investment in the US has been worthwhile and Firebox plans to continue to support a conservative expansion plan in the US, with a focus on key product lines and profitability.
As a result of these developments, we are maintaining the value of our stake in Firebox at £1.4 million reflecting its continued strong performance and future growth prospects balanced with worsening overall retail market conditions. The company has more than 600,000 registered newsletter subscribers and had more than seven million visits to its website during 2007. Firebox is based in London and employs 42 staff.
17/09/2008 - Victory over the big boys for Firebox.com - crowned Retailer of the Year by top technology magazine, Stuff.