Veteran furniture chain Stokers is embracing the latest lighting technology at its Southport store. Lux went to see how the company is saving a packet

The Stoker family has been selling furniture in the northwest of England for more than a century. Since Alfred Stoker opened his first business in the high street in Ormskirk in 1899, Stokers Fine Furniture has grown into a chain of 11 shops across the region, and turns over close to £30 million. The current managers are the fourth generation of the family to run the business.

Changing with the times

Companies don’t last over 100 years without changing with the times, and Stokers is currently installing LED lighting in all its branches.

With the help of energy consultant Power Solutions, Stokers conducted an energy audit and in October started a pilot scheme for updated lighting at its Southport store. The firm replaced its 100W halogen lamps with 640 Toshiba PAR38 LED lamps, which use less than a fifth of the power.

The LEDs emit up to 70 per cent less UV than halogen equivalents

Since the LED sources were fitted, the branch has saved more than £1,000 a month (including money saved on air-conditioning), and the new lights will pay for themselves in less than a year. The scheme is now being rolled out in a further three shops, and Stokers has ordered another 3,000 LED lamps from Toshiba. The company plans to roll the changes out in all its other shops.

Toshiba says its LEDs will last up to 20 times longer than the old halogen sources, minimising maintenance costs and will cutting energy consumption in Stokers stores by 75 per cent. The lamps also emit up to 70 per cent less UV light than the halogen equivalents, so Stokers will be able to turn off its air conditioning for eight months of the year instead of just four.

Stokers’ joint managing director Jonathan Stoker says: ‘The pilot scheme instantly reduced our carbon footprint, will pay for itself within nine-and-a-half months and has dramatically cut our energy bills without compromising the quality of light throughout the store. Toshiba’s LED lamps emit a soft incandescent light in focused pools across the display furniture, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere in the store.’

Undiminished experience

With consumer spending under constant pressure, it’s important for retailers like Stokers to keep costs down without diminishing the shopping experience.

Edward Lees, product manager at Toshiba Lighting Systems UK, says: ‘With traditional lighting accounting for about 20 per cent of a retailer’s electricity costs, LEDs offer a rapid return on investment and long-term cost savings – from both a maintenance and energy consumption point of view. The environmental benefits will also help retailers meet legislative targets.’

By investing in LED lighting for all 11 of its branches, Stokers hopes to cut more than £130,000 from its energy bill – a significant boost to the company’s bottom line.

Bensons for Beds

Bed retailer Bensons has also cut its energy costs by updating its lighting. As part of a rebranding exercise, the company has installed new illuminated signage across its estate, and the light sources are Tridonic’s TALEXXchain Crystal White P560 LED chain modules.

Working with Sign Gear Systems, Bensons managed to roll out the new signage in just five weeks.
As well as reducing energy consumption by more than 75 per cent compared with an equivalent fluorescent sign, the lighting will lower maintenance costs because the LEDs have expected lives of 80,000 hours. The modules have chip-on-board technology to control the temperature of the assemblies and maximise the life of the LEDs.

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