John Pollitt, sales and marketing director of Lancashire-based KBB supplier JJO, has expressed his shock at the “financial woe” of Alno AG, saying he regarded them as one of the few German premium brands.
But, speaking exclusively to kbbreview, Pollitt (pictured) said the company’s decline in turnover, from €521.5 million (£457m) in 2015 to €493.2m in 2016, wasn’t as shocking to retailers who have traded with Alno as it was to him.
“The knock-on effect of continued uncertainty, bad press, the chief executive resigning, John Lewis suspending sales and production ceasing in Germany, has unfortunately resulted in Alno UK failing and entering administration,” he said. “With uncertainty shrouding the parent company, I cannot see how the administrator will receive offers, allowing Alno UK, Alno Contracts and in-toto to continue to trade.”
However, Pollitt said he didn’t anticipate a “domino effect” among other German kitchen manufacturers.
“The majority are in a healthy state,” he insisted. “There are, however, several factors conspiring against them, with regard to supply to the UK. The upsurge in confidence within the combined economies of the European Union has seen the euro strengthen against sterling, which is driving up the costs of imported goods. Fuel prices continue to rise across Europe, increasing haulage costs. Then there’s Brexit. What will be the outcome of trading negotiations? Will there be tariffs applied to furniture imported into the UK? Will there be greater recognition of goods manufactured in the UK and campaigns targeting UK citizens to buy British?
“At the time of writing, we await information of new funding for Alno AG. Likewise, news from RSM Restructuring Advisory, which will determine if we will see Alno and in-toto continue to trade within the UK. The kitchen industry is never dull and the only constant is change. Is there a change on the horizon?”