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Temple & Webster to integrate Milan Direct by end of month

Online furniture and homewares retailer Temple & Webster has announced the integration of Milan Direct onto its platform by the end of this month, following the company’s integration of ZIZO, formerly Wayfair Australia, earlier this year.

The move will see Milan Direct’s range of home and office furniture become a permanent private label available through the Temple & Webster online store.

The brand, which is known for selling designer look-alike furniture, will continue to maintain its product supply and inventory operations with a renewed focus on further developing its core offering.

Commenting on the integration, Temple & Webster CEO and co-founder Mark Coulter said the company has been working towards this goal since it acquired Milan Direct, one of Australia’s biggest online furniture stores, last year.

“It was always our plan to bring the businesses closer, and we have been working on integration options for a while, as part of our strategy to build Temple & Webster into the dominant player in its category.

“It’s been a 12-month process and for most parts smooth. Like any merger of two businesses the key challenges tend to lie in integrating back-end operations,” he told Internet Retailing. 

Temple & Webster aims to deliver a better user experience by offering shoppers a broader range of furniture and homewares under one “roof”, while also strengthening its own financial position.

The company said in a statement that the move will accelerate the path to profitability by removing unnecessary duplication of core business operations and redirecting key resources.

“While we are planning for some impact to sales in the immediate term, we anticipate that most of Milan Direct’s revenues will transition to the Temple & Webster platform, given that we will be migrating the entire Milan Direct private label range to the site,” Coulter said.

The Milan Direct office in Melbourne will be closed as part of the consolidation of operations. Key personnel will relocate to Sydney, including founder Dean Ramler, who will continue to manage the Milan Direct brand and private label operations.

The Milan Direct showroom in Melbourne will stay open for the foreseeable future. Coulter said the company has “no immediate plans to close the […] showroom. Further showrooms will be considered if the right location and opportunity presents.”

This year, Temple & Webster posted a $44 million loss in its first full year of trading on the ASX, more than double what it forecast.

Leadership changes, including the appointment of co-founder Mark Coulter as CEO in October of this year, and commitments to reduce operational expenses are part of its turnaround strategy to break even by 2018.

In a conversation with IR in October, Coulter described Temple & Webster’s technology platform as “pretty key to our business. We’ve made a major investment [in it] already, but we’ll continue to do so.”

Milan Direct’s founder Ramler said, “I am extremely proud of the Milan Direct team, which has helped me build one of the biggest private label businesses in the country, and I thank them for their energy and hard work.

“Looking ahead, I am excited that Milan Direct will be the private label arm of the Temple & Webster platform. I joined the Temple & Webster team to help build the dominant online retailer in our category, and I’m glad to say we are well on our way to achieving that.”


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