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UK DIY News

Tile retailer taps into online route

Businessman Mo Iqbal is creating dozens of jobs after returning to the tile market.

Mr Iqbal, who sold his Longton-based Tile Giant business to builders merchant Travis Perkins for £12 million in 2007, has launched online retailer Tile Mountain with fellow directors.

He said: "From watching my children, I noticed people are increasingly turning to the internet for everything they buy.
"So when the opportunity came along to start a new business I was sure we should go down the online route.

"However I was determined that we should have a strong presence in Stoke-on-Trent and we have now taken on the old bus depot in Clough Street, where our warehouse is based.
"We will be recruiting as the company grows and have so far taken on staff in a range of jobs from traditional warehouse roles to customer service assistants and buyers. A number of the people we have taken on have come to us after being made redundant at Johnson Tiles in Tunstall."

Tile Mountain sells to the public online, sending samples out to customers before they commit to a large order.
It sources its range of products from across the world as well as offering locally made tiles, such as those manufactured by Johnson Tiles.

Dad-of-two Mr Iqbal said: "The way we are doing things is much more efficient. We don't have to deal with distributors and the cost savings are passed on the customer. The reality is, people can shop around the world if they want to without leaving their living rooms. Why should it be any different for tiles?

"Our customers will be able to touch and feel and see what they are buying with the sample, and also know that when they place an order it's going to turn up on time and turn up on their doorstep – there's no struggling to get heavy boxes of tiles in the boot of the car.

"You will still get people who want to go to the shop because that's what they feel comfortable with, but the younger generation don't necessarily do this.
"My 17-year-old daughter will go around the shops to see what she likes and then order it online because she doesn't want to carry the bags around.

"The market is changing and it is being led by consumers."
Tile Mountain has also opened a trade counter – a service which may be rolled out to other areas of the country.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council ward member Majid Khan said: "It is great news that jobs are being created at this time.
"Through the Mandate for Change the council is working to create the right conditions for businesses to grow and expand and to move into the area.
"We want to see our commercial premises brought into use rather than sitting closed up."

Source: Ann King

26 July 2013
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Thank you for the excellent presentation that you gave at Woodbury Park on Thursday morning. It was very interesting and thought-provoking for our Retail members. The feedback has been excellent.

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Martin Elliott. Chief Executive - Home Hardware.
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