Courts ready for Yuletide with upgraded store

BY JULIAN RICHARDSON Assistant business co-ordinator

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

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RIGHT in time for the bumper Christmas retail season, furniture giant Courts Jamaica has completed a multimillion-dollar expansion project on its Constant Spring Road, St Andrew store.

The company held a soft launch for the renovated branch yesterday, but plans to have a grand opening next week, said Dennis Harris, managing director of Unicomer Jamaica, operators of the Courts chain.

Courts reportedly invested $270 million to expand the Constant Spring facility from 25,000 to 29,000 square-feet. Harris said the new state-of-the-art branch is set to enhance customer experience both in terms of visuals and service.

Features include solar energy, elevator and a new optical section that offers eyewear on credit and includes an in-house opthalmologist and free eye examinations.

"I think we were trying to, of course improve our sales numbers, but importantly we wanted to make a statement as the largest furniture retailer in Jamaica and show Jamaicans that we have the capability of producing world-class retail presentations to enhance the shopping experience," he said.

The renovation at Constant Spring is part of a broader upgrading exercise by the furniture, electronics and appliance retailer across its 29-store chain on the island. The project has included renovations at the Cross Roads, Savanna-la-Mar and Falmouth outlets.

Harris said it was not a deliberate move to complete the expansion of the Constant Spring Road branch in the middle of the Christmas season, where sales are traditionally higher for most retailers in Jamaica.

"What was more important was to make sure that we got it right in terms of the things that we wanted to do, and therefore it was more coincidental that it ended up being completed in this very important season," said Harris, adding "Naturally, it's to our benefit that it worked out this way".

December accounts for some 25 per cent of annual retail sales locally, by some industry estimates. And consumer appetite at this time of the year usually involves some amount of furniture shopping, said the Courts Jamaica boss.

"At Christmastime, we Jamaicans take a lot of pride in our homes and try to do something fresh and new," said Harris. "What is even more important is to make sure that we are able to offer our customers something that is new and fresh as well."

El Salvador-based Unicomer Group acquired the Courts operations in the Caribbean in 2006.

Courts enjoys a presence in 10 countries throughout the Caribbean with 113 stores employing more than 3,000 persons. It is a market leader throughout the region where it enjoys a presence and has become ingrained in Caribbean culture as the premier furniture retail brand.

Jamaica is considered the flagship operation of the Caribbean. The company employs more than 1,000 persons on the island.

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