Mar 12 2013 by Tom Duffy, Formby Times
ONE of Merseyside’s leading companies is boosting its presence in Formby.
DIY and home furnishings chainŠTaskersŠhas announced plans to open a new outlet in Formby.
Taskers Decorative will be a 5000sq ft outlet selling lighting and decorative accessories.
The two new outlets in Formby and Heswall will take total employee numbers from the current 250 to around 270.
And Taskers’ sister company Formby Cycles is building a new warehouse to cope with ‘unprecedented’ demand.
Taskers has already invested millions in Formby Cycles since buying the company in 2003, building a new showroom off the bypass five time the size of the old shop on Church Road.
TaskersŠ managing director John Tasker said he has seen a lift in sales both in his shops and online in recent months.
In the first few weeks of this year, there have been a number of high-profile retail collapses, including Jessops and HMV.
And the Liverpool city centre-based Rapid Hardware has also fallen victim to the recession.
However,ŠTaskersŠis reporting sales well ahead of budgets. It said in 2012 its sales in wall coverings were up 15%, furniture up 30%, kitchens up 25% and bathroom sales up 6%.
Mr Tasker also said that he expected a huge increase in website traffic this year, taking it beyond one million hits for the first time.
Mr Tasker said: “It is not all gloom and doom.
“Yes, it is very tough, but there are success stories and I think it is important to remind people of this.
“In a tough market like this, you have to work hard at things.
“If you don’t recognise that you have to change, then you are going to fail.”
Mr Tasker added that online traffic was already up by 60% this year with sales up by more than 100%.
He added: “Admittedly that is from a low base, but it is growing fast and we now have four people working full-time developing the site.”
He acknowledges that the core DIY and furnishings business is very much linked to the rise and fall of the housing market.
He said: “We have seen a lot of contraction in the sector and we cannot pretend it has been easy.
“Hopefully, we are over the worst of it.”