|Key people||Leo McKee (Chief Executive)|
BrightHouse is the largest rent-to-own company in the United Kingdom, with over 270 stores. BrightHouse is a trading name of Caversham Finance Limited which is owned by private equity firm Vision Capital.
Caversham Finance Limited, previously a subsidiary of Thorn Group plc, was taken private in September 1998 in a deal arranged and financed by the Principal Finance Group of Nomura (now reconstructed as Terra Firma Capital Partners). The company was bought by Vision Capital in July 2007.
BrightHouse is a national retail chain that sells home electronic and domestic appliances, and household furniture and related products, on a ‘rent to own’ basis. It employs more than 3,000 staff nationwide, and expansion is planned to continue, with a further 35 stores set to open during the next 12 months.
June 2009 saw the launch of its online hiring site.
BrightHouse released its financial results in July 2010 showing a 15.7 per cent rise in annual sales to £197.3 million. Over the Christmas period 2010 BrightHouse saw their sales increase 13.7 percent to 57.4 million pounds in the 13 weeks to 31 December.
Revenue increased 17.1% to £266.5m for the year to 31 March 2012.
Some sources suggest Brighthouse makes it impossible to compare prices, though Chief executive Leo McKee said the retailer benefits through a "really obsessive" approach to customer service, with "aspirational products at very competitive prices", claiming that though an active comparison is not obvious, it actively compares with other retail competitors; The Co-operative, Amazon.com, Yhor and 24Ace.
BrightHouse won Large Business of the Year at the Business Excellence Awards 2012
BrightHouse won Best High Street Recycler at the National Recycling Awards 2012
BrightHouse has been shortlisted for the Retail Technology Initiative of the Year in the Oracle Retail Week Awards 2010. Results are to be announced on 4 March.
Charity and Partnerships
In 2010, Brighthouse partnered with Centerprise International Limited, an approved Becta supplier to participate in the Home Access programme. This is a Government-backed initiative through which some 270,000 eligible low income families in England will be offered grants for a home computer and internet access. People who are registered will be able to order their free computer from one of Brighthouse's 192 stores.
In May 2009, an investigation by BBC Newsbeat suggested that BrightHouse mistreated customers who missed payments. A former employee, Tristam Meyrick, told Newsbeat that the company tried to repossess goods without obtaining a court order, saying "We would just lie our way around it. Tell them we had the legal right to be there, and refuse to leave until they gave us the stuff." Commercial director Hamish Paton denied the company mistreated its customers, saying "We would only ever take the goods with the consent of the customer". Chris Tapp, director of charity Credit Action called for the Office of Fair Trading to investigate.
The company's lending practices have been criticised for targeting the "poorest, most desperate families" and operating in the "most deprived areas" of the UK. Other customers end up paying more than twice what they would have paid absent BrightHouse's finance charges. Their base prices have also been noted to be higher than those of upscale mainstream retailers such as Harrods.
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- Thompson, Jennifer. "BrightHouse poised to open 35 stores". FT.
- "BrightHouse launches careers site". On Rec. 23 June 2009.
- "Brighthouse - are you a customer?". East Reading Online. Retrieved February 29, 2012.
- "BrightHouse eyes best Christmas since 2007". Retails Week. Retrieved November 12, 2010.
- "Brighthouse and the heavy price of paying by the week". The Guardian. Retrieved Friday 23 November.
- "2008 Winners". National Recycling Awards. Retrieved 16 February 2009.
- "Green Apple Award Winners 2008". The Green Organisation. Retrieved 16 February 2009.
- Oracle Retail Week Awards
- "BrightHouse sponsors Trisha Goddard Show". ERT Weekly. 8 November 2007.
- "BrightHouse announces partnership with NSPCC". Marketing. 4 January 2010.
- "BrightHouse partners with Centerprise". PR-Inside. 19 January 2010.
- "BBC - Newsbeat - The P Word - Firm denies 'bullying' customers". BBC News (London: BBC). 14 May 2009. Retrieved 23 May 2011.
- Don Mort, "Don't fall prey to doorstep lenders plea", Wakefield Express, Jan 1, 2010, accessed Mar. 18, 2010.
- "The peril of easy credit at Christmas", The Sun, Dec. 7, 2009, accessed Mar. 18, 2010.
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