|Leo McKee (Chief Executive)|
Number of employees
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.
BrightHouse currently stocks brands which include Samsung, Sony, Philips, Acer, LG, Nintendo, Baird, Whirlpool, Beko, BlackBerry and Nokia. The company charges a typical APR of 64.7%, and up to 69.9% on some products.
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 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.
In January 2015 Private Eye reported that BrightHouse had paid very little UK corporation tax between 2007 and 2014 - less than £6m - after revenues of £1.6bn and operating profits of £191m. According to Private Eye, interest of £76m owed to a Luxembourg-registered subsidiary of BrightHouse's owners Vision Capital had significantly reduced taxable profits. In addition, records showed BrightHouse's '5 star' insurance to be operated through a sister company based in Malta, where tax on profits would in effect be no more than 5 per cent under Maltese law. BrightHouse told Private Eye it complies with all relevant tax regulations and that all its arrangements were arranged with HMRC.
- Nicola Harrison (13 November 2008). "BrightHouse's Leo McKee: Safe as houses". Retail Week.
- "Press Release July 2012".
- "BrightHouse takes over Robert Dyas shop on Cheltenham High Street". Gloucestershire Echo.
- Tom Braithwaite (17 November 2007). "BrightHouse circumvents credit crisis". Financial Times.
- Thompson, Jennifer. "BrightHouse poised to open 35 stores". FT.
- "BrightHouse launches careers site". On Rec. 23 June 2009.
- "Weekly payment store Brighthouse doubles APR". AOL. 16 October 2013. Retrieved 16 July 2014.
- Robinson, Duncan (7 July 2014). "WH Smith chairman to join BrightHouse". Financial Times. Retrieved 13 July 2014.
- "Brighthouse - are you a customer?". East Reading Online. Retrieved 29 February 2012.
- "BrightHouse eyes best Christmas since 2007". Retails Week. Retrieved 12 November 2010.
- "Brighthouse and the heavy price of paying by the week". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 November 2012.
- "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 18 March 2010.
- "The peril of easy credit at Christmas", The Sun, 7 December 2009, accessed 18 March 2010.
- "Low Income High Profits", Private Eye No.1384 23 January - 5 February 2015
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