World-class customer service is a core strength and as a result our team of people is one of our most valued assets. We aim to provide our customers with high quality advice and inspiration, as well as technical knowledge and a strong service ethic, and to do this successfully we need highly engaged specialist teams around the Group that can support our customers and clients.
As an omni-channel business, our digital presence is key. Our award-winning website is regularly ranked within the top websites in the country, and we continue to invest in updating it to add more value for customers. With the addition of the Online Pure Play channel, we also now have a number of standalone online businesses, supported by the latest digital platforms.
The Topps Tiles brand was founded in 1963 and, with its rich history, has strong brand recognition across the UK, (with approximately 25 times the level of unprompted awareness as the next highest tile specialist). The Parkside brand has 40 years of heritage in the commercial sector. Last year we acquired Pro Tiler Tools, which was founded in 2008 by a family of tilers and is extremely well-regarded within the trader community, and launched our newest brand, Tile Warehouse, as we continue to grow the Group. There are relatively few product brands in tiles, making the brand of the retailer or distributor very important for customers and clients. As a result, our brands are some of our most important assets.
For our omni-channel Topps Tiles business, stores remain our primary channel to market and almost all of our customers will visit a store at some point during their purchase. We operate from 303 stores across the UK with an average footprint of 5,000 sq ft; however, the inherent flexibility in our operating model enables us to trade successfully from 3,000 sq ft up to 10,000 sq ft. Our store portfolio operates predominantly on a leased basis with an average unexpired lease term of approximately three years, giving us flexibility to manage the portfolio.
We source our products directly from manufacturers on a global basis, with a focus on building long-term strategic relationships with our manufacturing partners, while allowing flexibility including the ability to resource products from around the world as we react to any changes in local conditions. Our buying scale allow us to develop product ranges with leading tile manufacturers that are genuinely innovative and to source them on an exclusive basis. Our investment in our supply chain includes our 150,000 sq ft of warehousing space in Leicester and a fleet of 21 commercial vehicles, together with the standalone supply chain infrastructure supporting Pro Tiler Tools. This gives us an unrivalled control over our inventory and delivery capability.
Topps Group is home to UK tile retail and distribution brands including Topps Tiles, Pro Tiler Tools, Parkside and Tile Warehouse.
Our foremost retail brand Topps Tiles stands as the nation’s largest specialist distributor of tiles and associated products by a significant margin. The Group’s strength lies in its ability to provide substantial support to all its brands, enabling them to cater to their respective customer segments with expertise and dedication. We are united by our love of tiles and this drives our commitment to excellence across the whole Group.
The core purpose of Topps Group is to inspire customers through our love of tiles.
We put customers at the heart of what we do with help of following three pillars:
We deliver value to our homeowner customers in Topps Tiles by combining differentiated products with excellence in customer service, the convenience of a nationwide store network and world-class websites. This is combined with competitive pricing to ensure that all of our customers receive great value. Our other brands delivery value through their own respective market positions, from the commercial to the domsetic sector.
We invest significant amounts of time, effort and money each in the recruitment, retention and development of our colleagues. In Topps Tiles stores, commission payments often form a substantial part of our remuneration and our overall reward package is designed to support and maintain our high standards of customer service. Other brands have their own rewards structures and we have a package of benefits which apply across the Group.
Our scale enables us to form long-term relationships with many of the world’s largest manufacturers of tiles and related products, and we often work collaboratively with them to develop new products, guaranteeing supply for them and securing exclusive products for us. Our strategic supplier base accounts for 25% of our purchases and many of our supplier relationships are built on decades of mutual success.
We aim to deliver sustainable growth in shareholder value. A part of this is through dividend payments and our capital allocation policy sees our dividend payments set at 67% of adjusted EPS, with flexibility embedded into the policy to try to deliver flat or increasing dividends for Shareholders through the economic cycle.
We are part of more than 300 local communities around the country. We play a full part in these communities, from providing employment opportunities to engaging in charitable activity and sponsoring local sports teams. We are proud to partner with Alzheimer’s Society as our lead charity partner.