Despite Brexit, Britain's Mattress Market Is Firm

  • Casper says there’s ‘clear demand’ even if economy slows
  • Mattress startup opens London office to compete with Eve, Made

While some executives are losing sleep over Brexit, pondering whether to move jobs or even their company headquarters out of the U.K., American mattress delivery startup Casper Sleep Inc. is moving in.

The New York-based company, which lets customers order mattresses online and delivers them to their homes, opened for business in London on Wednesday and sold out its first batch of U.K. deliveries within two hours.

“Clearly there is an uncertainty about the Brexit decision but it never affected our desire to come to the U.K.,” said Luke Sherwin, chief creative officer, in an interview. “We thought, we’ll go and see how the political landscape plays out over the next two years.”

The U.K.’s June 23 vote to leave the European Union has prompted companies like Burberry Group Plc and Ryanair Holdings Plc to delay or shift investments, but Casper’s founders say they remain confident about their prospects in the country. They say the trend toward e-commerce and away from bricks-and-mortar shops will outweigh any possible Brexit downside.

In a sign of resilience for the home-furnishings business, U.K. retailer DFS Furniture Plc on Thursday said its revenue rose 7 percent in the latest fiscal year, and it added that it had not seen any weakening of demand since the EU referendum.

Casper, which is selling mattresses at 350 pounds ($455) for a single to 700 pounds for a super king size, says it doesn’t know how many jobs will be created by its expansion. It has contracted with a partner to make the mattresses for the U.K. market and is opening a creative office in London.

Busy Market

While Casper is established in the U.S., in the U.K. it will face competition from startups like Eve and Made, which have similar business models. All three companies provide home delivery and free returns within 100 days. Made declined to comment. Eve co-founder Kuba Wieczorek said the brand was seeing 25 percent growth month-on-month and expected sales of £17 million this year.

Casper’s move into the U.K. comes just days after Steinhoff International Holdings Ltd. bought out Houston-based retailer Mattress Firm for $2.4 billion, making it the world’s largest mattress retailer. Among competitors Casper will face in the U.K. is Steinhoff’s Bensons for Beds store chain.

The U.S. company, which started in 2014 and has raised $70 million from investors since then, says its funding requirements are met for now but it doesn’t rule out seeking U.K. financing in the future. Executives said they’re unconcerned that Brexit will crimp investment.

“I think the world is still spinning,” co-founder Constantin Eis said.

(Corrects company location in second paragraph.)
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