Stamp auction house doubles sales with NatWest help

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Stamp auction house doubles sales with NatWest help

A specialist stamp dealer and international auction house has defied the recession to double sales with funding support from NatWest.

Universal Philatelic Auctions has increased sales from £850,000 a year to more than £1.6m, and is on target to achieve sales of £2m in the next financial year.

The SME has solved a common industry problem known as “surface sell”, where only the most desirable stamps are sold leaving potential profits tied up in harder to sell stamps, by introducing a unique  ‘Reducing Estimate Selling Price System’. This makes unsold items more attractive to buyers by reducing their price each time the stamp fails to sell at auction.

The system revolutionised the way the company auctioned their stamps and the number of participating bidders and buyers grew by 250%.

UPA Auctions managing director Andrew McGavin says: “Reducing prices in a structured way led to buyers having to prioritise what to bid on or have the chance of missing an irreplaceable item or bargain.”

Greater sales meant the company needed to buy a greater volume of stamps, so McGavin worked with NatWest Relationship Manager Paul Smith to access increased funding facilities, helping UPA Auctions become even more resilient to the tough economic environment.

Recession-proofing

McGavin says:“We have been a NatWest client for more than 30 years and they have supported the business through thick and thin. Paul’s support for us has been exceptional; with increased facilities UPA Auctions can look towards growing its sales by more than 20% in the next year.”

Smith said: “The quality of service provided by UPA Auctions really does set them apart. They have diversified the business by introducing new customer acquisition and selling systems and the result is an extremely stable, recession-proof company.

“Our business managers now spend a minimum of two days a year working with local businesses to understand the challenges they face. This puts them in a better position to help their customers achieve their ambitions - last year more than 4,000 visits took place.”

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