Friday, 24 June 2011

Leave the kitchen and bathroom light on

Philippa Turrell, Editor
Kitchens & Bathrooms News
There are just some days when you wished you hadn’t got out of bed. Following news that Homeform Group (parent company of Moben, Dolphin, Sharps and Kitchen Direct) is entering administration now comes reports of the proposed closure of Habitat. Without doubt, it’s tough out there for retail. It signals a hard slog for the bathroom and kitchen industry, in appears to be at least another challenging six months for the industry.
Some consumers may now become wary of buying a kitchen; after all it’s only months after the administration of Focus DIY and three years since MFI went under.  They may become fearful about the safety of their deposit and whether they will actually get their kitchen or bathroom, perhaps opting to use the money for another little luxury, instead, like a holiday. Oh, but then with proposed strike actions and unpredictable ash clouds is that really a safer bet?
Before we ask the last showroom to turn off the light, before leaving the high street, the administration of the Homeform group could actually benefit independent kitchen and bathroom specialists. It could drive consumers into the open arms of the high street specialist, who can offer the same perceived quality of Moben and Dolphin, and perhaps at a lower price. Consumers could seek solace in your solid trading reputation and perhaps family-owned concern.  
It’s time to shine a light on the independent kitchen and bathroom retail sector and illustrate what it does best, rather than stick your head in the sand and hope the squall soon blows over.  Promote your design skills, your ability to work with affiliated trades for extension, your advisory service (with top product knowledge) and most importantly after-sales.  And if you have deposit protection, it’s a no-brainer – promote that too!
The days of the ‘general home improvement’ retailer may soon be over. Show your specialism.

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