|Headquarters||Wythenshawe, Manchester, England|
|Number of locations||800+|
|Area served||Ireland, United Kingdom|
|Key people||John Timpson CBE|
|Services||Shoe repair, watch repair, engraving, dry cleaning, photo processing|
|Owner(s)||John Timpson & family|
Timpson is primarily a shoe repair business based in Wythenshawe, Manchester with over 800 outlets in Ireland and the United Kingdom. Timpson also offers key cutting, engraving, jewellery and watch repair, house sign creation and assorted other services, as well as retailing shoe care products.
The company was founded as a shoe retailer by William Timpson and his brother in law Walter Joyce, at 298 Oldham Road, Manchester in 1865. It expanded into shoe-manufacturing in 1884 at factories in Kettering, and repairs in 1903. The company listed on the London Stock Exchange in 1929. In the 1950s, turnover was around £10m and profits £900,000. The company moved its headquarters to Wythenshawe in 1964.
In the early 1960s, family member and Nottingham University graduate John Timpson returned from his post-graduate management training scheme with C. & J. Clark in Street, Somerset to join the family-owned business, becoming Director responsible for buying in 1970. In 1973, after John's father Anthony was ousted as chairman by his uncle Geoffrey, the company was acquired for £28.6m by United Drapery Stores. John stayed with the firm, became Managing Director of leather and fur retailers Swears & Wells, then in 1975 appointed Managing Director of the former family business, William Timpson Ltd.
In 1983, John led a £42M management buyout of William Timpson from then owners Hanson Trust plc. To raise funds, £30M came from selling the freeholds on the firm's stores and leasing them back, the rest via debt financing from venture capitalists. After four years of poor trading, to reduce debt on the balance sheet, the company sold the loss-making shoe retail business for £15M to rival George Oliver, and focused on building the shoe repairing and key cutting business.
- September 1995: 120 shops of the Automagic chain
- April 2003: 200 shops of Minit UK
- 2004: The House Nameplate Company in Wrexham
- June 2008: 40 Persil Services concessions located in Sainsburys stores
- December 2008: 187 digital photo shops branded Kick and Max Spielmann
John Timpson and his wife were foster carers for 29 years, fostering over 80 children. The couple have five children of their own. In 2000 John wrote the book Dear James, in which he passes on to his son the lessons learned in 30 years as a Chief Executive. His second book How to ride a Giraffe describes his business philosophy. Timpson was awarded the CBE in 2008 for services to the retail industry.
Presently a private business owned by John Timpson and his family, the group owns 800 shops with a combined turnnover of £90M, and profits of approx £16M in 2012.
The Timpson's management team employs a very distinctive business method. There is a great deal of autonomy given to the small teams working in individual stores. The CEO of Timpson Ltd., John Timpson CBE and his son, managing director James Timpson, personally visit shops up and down the country on a regular basis.
John Timpson's philosophy is that "If you treat people well, it is blindingly obvious that they will do a good job." The company still has a final salary pension scheme in place, owns holiday homes for workers, staff get their birthdays off, and bonuses for exceeding targets. In 2007, to celebrate growing from £500,000 profit to £12m in 20 years of trading, Timpson's launched the "Dream Come True" programme for staff, which over 12 months paid for eye operations, reunited families and sent staff on dream trips to Australia. The business has won countless awards, and been in the top 10 of the Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For every time it has entered.
- David Teather (3 April 2009). "John Timpson, the cobbler who is showing his rivals a clean pair of heels". The Guardian. Retrieved 2012-06-04.
- Joanna Higgins (9 September 2007). "John Timpson". Director magazine. Retrieved 2012-06-04.
- "History of Timpsons". Timpsons. Retrieved 2012-06-04.
- "John Timpson". Timposon Ltd. Retrieved 2012-06-04.
- Jody Clarke (April 17, 2009). John Timpson: cobbling together a fortune. MoneyWeek.
- Timpsons remains impartial - picture of shop in Crewe
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