Moore and Smalley assists Chelsom with latest international expansion

A Blackpool business which designs and manufactures decorative lighting and furniture for hotels and cruise ships has announced a 15 per cent increase in export sales, thanks to its latest international expansion.

Chelsom, a family-owned business based in Clifton Road, Blackpool, has opened a new office in the Far East to allow its export customers to benefit from better lead times and reduced freight costs.

Chelsom’s export sales now account for 35 per cent of its £7m turnover, up from under 20 per cent two years ago. The company recently opened a Middle East office and expanded further into North American market with a new 16-strong sales force based in the US.

Robert Chelsom, managing director of Chelsom (pictured), said: “We recognised quite early in the recession that we needed to significantly increase exports if we were to continue growing. With the recent changes we’ve made we’re now exporting to over 70 countries worldwide.”

Chelsom was advised on the opening of its Far East operation, trading as Chelsom Hong Kong Ltd, by North West accountancy and business advisory firm, Moore and Smalley.

Damian Walmsley, partner at Moore and Smalley, said: “Developing new export markets is a great way for manufacturers to remain profitable in these challenging times. We have been advising a number of businesses on international expansions and Chelsom could be a text-book example of how to go about boosting international trade.”

Chelsom, which has 50 staff at its Blackpool head office and factory as well as regional sales consultants, has provided lighting to many of the world’s top hotels including The Savoy in London, Four Seasons Hotel in Park Lane, the Turnberry Resort in Scotland, the George V Paris and the Grand Hyatt Amman.

It provided lighting for the Cunard Line’s Queen Mary 2 and also counts P&O Cruises and Royal Caribbean among its illustrious list of cruise ship clients.

Robert added: “Lighting for many of the world’s top hotels and cruise ships is specified by designers in the US, which is why we’ve decided to get closer to that market by growing our sales force there. Opening an office in the Far East also moves the company closer to its manufacturing sources, ensuring constant quality and cost control.

“The Hong Kong base means that customers in the Far East, Middle East, Asia, Russia and elsewhere can opt for direct shipment of consignments from China to the final project destination with complete confidence, guaranteeing the most competitive export pricing.”

The business was established in 1947 by Robert’s parents Reg and Kay as an antique lighting shop called The Golden Age. It later specialised in importing and distribution of lighting for shops and department stores, including Harrods, Fortnum and Mason and John Lewis.

Robert took over the business in 1973 and gradually refocused the business on the contract market, providing lighting for hotels, cruise ships, bars and restaurants, churches and public buildings. Robert’s son Will has worked in the business for the last five years.