Sectors Retail, consumer and leisure; Technology, media and telecoms
Location Peterborough, UK
Investment type Public-to-private
Date of exit November 2015
Investment status Realised
Return 2.6x

Ideal Shopping Direct

The company

Ideal Shopping Direct is one of the UK’s leading multi-channel home shopping retailers, selling lifestyle goods, niche craft and hobbyist products through TV shopping channels, the internet and mail-order catalogues. Four specialist e-commerce websites support the TV channels. The business also operates a wholesale distribution business supplying craft products to third parties in the UK and overseas markets.

Ideal Shopping Direct operates in two distinct and growing markets, TV shopping and the craft and hobbyist market, selling a variety of popular lifestyle products through well-established TV shopping channels ‘Ideal World’ and ‘Create & Craft’, as well as multiple internet sites.

Growth strategy

Languishing on AIM, Ideal’s management team sought a partner to enable them to delist and invest in the IT infrastructure of the business to reduce costs and increase their product range.

The Inflexion difference

Inflexion invested in Ideal Shopping Direct in 2011, successfully delisting the company from AIM in a take-private. We backed the incumbent management team who still lead this thriving company today. Capitalising on the increasing popularity of crafting in the UK, fuelled by the success of television shows such as the Great British Bake Off and Sewing Bee, our strategy focused on accelerating growth through targeted acquisitions and international expansion. Deramores and Craft Channel Productions were both acquired and integrated into the business, extending Ideal Shopping Direct’s offering. During our ownership, craft club members increased from 55,000 to 90,000.

In addition, we introduced a highly experienced Chairman, David Hamid, and helped renegotiate television broadcasting contracts contributing to extensive savings. Inflexion’s Digital Director also worked with the team to undertake a digital audit of the business, assessing the customer experience across divisions and through its diverse channels in order to inform the development of the company’s websites and trading platforms to enhance its multi-channel offering.

More latterly, Inflexion helped Ideal Shopping Direct establish its presence in the U.S., a multi-billion dollar crafting market currently dominated by bricks and mortar retailers, through a partnership with a local distributor and the launch of a dedicated US TV channel. Ideal Shopping Direct now accesses c.40 million U.S. households.

During our tenure employee numbers grew from over 580 at investment to more than 820 at exit. Inflexion generated a total realised return of 2.6x.