Peterborough online auction house secures funding boost

An online auction house in Peterborough has improved its services after securing a £150,000 loan.

Thursday, 4th November 2021, 2:20 pm
Staff at William George in Peterborough.

An online auction house in Peterborough has improved its services after securing a £150,000 loan.

William George, based at the Allia Future Business Centre, in London Road, has been backed by its banking partner Lloyds Bank through the Government-supported Recovery Loan Scheme.

The funding has helped the business develop a new software platform to manage stock levels.

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The platform is used by William George to handle department store chain John Lewis’ returns, which it sells to the public through the online auction platform, streamlining the process and reducing miles on the road and carbon emissions.

William George enjoyed a large rise in demand for its auctions, which sell liquidated stock ranging from consumer goods and household items to industrial and electrical components, during the Covid-19 lockdowns of the last 18 months as people invested in home comforts.

Last year, it saw a 313 per cent rise in value of goods sold and an 81 per cent increase in web traffic compared to 2019.

Now, it hopes to roll out its software platform to other retailers looking for a centralised way of handling returns.

Robin Gray, managing director at William George, said: “By investing in our own platform, it gives us the headroom to grow and expand our approach across the industry and help other retailers meet sustainability targets.”

He said: “Our business relies on us being able to easily obtain goods to auction on our platform, and get them to sellers in a timely fashion.

“After a big dip in supply at the start of the pandemic, we saw activity quickly return to normal levels and now, it far exceeds anything we could have hoped for at this time last year.

“It became clear that the third-party software we were using was no longer meeting our unique needs.

“We also soon realised that the pandemic would change consumer shopping behaviour forever.

“Now more than ever, retailers are looking for sustainable ways to manage their returns and liquidated stock generated by the growth in online shopping.”

Jessica Stillwell, relationship manager at Lloyds Bank said: “The pandemic presented fresh challenges for many businesses but having a long-term vision and a willingness to adapt to make the most of new opportunities set William George apart.

“Now, it is reaping the rewards of that flexibility and is going from strength to strength.”