Sunderland online retailer expands into new HQ

Sunderland City Council cabinet secretary Coun Mel Speding (left) with Vareity founder John Orr.

Sunderland City Council cabinet secretary Coun Mel Speding (left) with Vareity founder John Orr.

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AN online business is making its second move into larger premises in just four years to cope with spiralling demand., which sells items from home and garden furnishings, to sports and games equipment, is moving from its current offices at the North East Business and Innovation Centre (BIC) in Sunderland, to a larger unit on the same site.

The company, which started trading in an incubator unit at the BIC, has seven staff and plans to recruit another two after the move.

It is also aiming to increase its expansion rate of at least 30 per cent a year, to reach the £2million turnover landmark.

Founder John Orr said: “We are always looking to expand into different product sectors and countries worldwide.

“E-commerce is becoming more and more popular and with 90,000-plus products already for sale, we intend to be at the forefront in our sector.

“When you look at our counterparts in America, they are floating on the stock exchange. Our aim is to have that happen here as well.”

The company sources products from suppliers across the UK and has customers from the Isle of Skye to the Channel Islands.

John previously ran a business which designed a fold-up motorbike that could fit into a car boot.

He was supported by Sunderland entrepreneur Sir Peter Vardy, who continues to mentor him.

He has also been supported by Sunderland City Council, which provided advice and guidance to help with Variety’s move.

“The council helped out when we initially expanded and has helped us again,” he said.

“I’ve found the city council helpful to entrepreneurs, both as a younger person starting a business and as an established business owner aiming to grow.”

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