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Visualsoft aiming for sites in four of UK's major cities.

Byline: Kelley Price Business Reporter

STOCKTON digital agency Visualsoft has announced it is looking to expand into four major UK cities in 2015 - but says Teesside will "always be home."

The full service eCommerce agency, which has grown from 20 staff to 200 in six years, is eyeing up new offices in Edinburgh, Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham to offer an enhanced service to its existing clients, while attracting more high-calibre staff and connecting with businesses.

The news of the growth comes just two weeks after Northern Powerhouse minister James Wharton visited the firm in Stockton to discuss the impact of making Teesside central to the powerhouse agenda. He said: "Visualsoft is a great example of the dynamic and innovative companies that are making a positive impact that will help the area make a valuable contribution to the development of a Northern Powerhouse."

Visualsoft also has offices in Newcastle and London, and 1,200 live websites.

In the past 12 months alone, the company has processed 5.3m transactions through its online platform, collectively worth PS300m.

The company will soon welcome 10 new staff to existing offices, and an initial five will start in the Manchester office.

Visualsoft CEO Dean Benson, said 'We're really excited about our growth plans, which includes moving into a new 30,000 sq ft headquarters on Teesside, and also opening up a number of new offices in key locations around the UK.

He added: "It's been a whirlwind 12 months for Visualsoft, but we're more focused than ever on achieving our goal of becoming the UK's leading digital agency, and opening these offices is another step in the right direction. Teesside will always be our home, though."

Established in 1998, Visualsoft designs, builds, supports and markets online stores for retailers and brands across the UK.

Clients include North-east businesses Charles Clinkard, Psyche and Northern Threads.

The company hit the headlines last week when it introduced unlimited paid holidays, 100% flexible working and free breakfasts to attract the "best people."

Dean added: "From day one we'll be rolling out our policy of unlimited paid holidays, unlimited flexi time, free breakfasts and free protein shakes for all the staff.

"The average age of the 202 workers we have is 28, and we want all of our staff to be fit and healthy, because then you get happy and productive workers, which is why we offer free breakfasts and shakes.

"The unlimited holidays and flexi-time takes some people a while to adjust to because they are used to a 9-to-5 working week, but digital technology means the lines are blurred between work and home - how many people check their emails at home or even in the gym? "The unlimited flexi time isn't a benefit - what we do is focus on output. We define a job and measure what the output should be.

"If you have 'x' amount of work to do each week and get that work done, then you can take flexi time off. It recognises that our lives are so blended between work and home.

He added: "We are embracing the digital age and trying to do some brave moves to stand out from the crowd."


Northern |Powerhouse Minister James Wharton MP, right, at Visualsoft with Sandy Anderson of TVUand Visualsoft MD Dean Benson
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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jun 24, 2015
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