‘We’ll change where we need to,’ says Bathroom Brands

Bathroom Brands’ new chief executive Rene Maan has admitted it has too many brands in its portfolio and that it needs simplifying.

Maan (pictured), who joined the company in April this year, claimed that if the group continued on its current path it would be too top-heavy with brands.

“We’re starting to focus on leading brands,” he said. “That will be worked out over the next few months. We’ll consolidate some of this and have a stronger message on fewer brands. We may not necessarily lose them, but it’s how we incorporate them inside some of the other product lines. We will change where we need to.”

Maan confirmed that as part of its consolidation, the group was debating a shift in the Burlington and Arcade brands, positioning Arcade as a sub-brand of Burlington.

He also claimed that the group was currently suffering from a confused brand identity, adding that this would have to change.

“We’ll say focus on Crosswater, on Britton, or on Burlington, and have dedicated people leading that,” he explained. “That’s one of the changes we’ll make – having a focus on those brands. If we mix it all together, it gets confusing. We will have more clarity as to the brand identity.”

However, he argued that Bathroom Brands had no plans to change its route to market or pricing structure, claiming it wouldn’t end up selling direct because of the “complexity of the product”.

He added that while traditional brands, such as Burlington and Arcade, were doing “extremely” well and experiencing significant growth, its Britton brand needed some refreshing as wat is “a little bit dated”.

However, the refresh in brand identity has also brought about a number of changes among its management and marketing teams.

Maan explained: “They felt it was better that someone came in with a different knowledge and background to help them grow. This business is leading in the UK and is extremely healthy, but if you want to play Champions League, you have to change. The management team realised that, for the next level, they needed different types of people here, with different skill sets and experience.”

Despite plans to reinvigorate the brand and portfolio, Maan claimed that the bathroom market as a whole was “unsophisticated”, adding that other industries are “way beyond us”.

“There are a lot of companies where things just slip,” he said. “They say the market is difficult, Brexit is difficult… What Brexit? Are we going to go less to the toilet because of Brexit? No. We’re talking it into our own heads.

“Guys, wake up. We need to change our thinking. The market is slower, but we fight harder. We start half-an-hour earlier and come home half-an-hour later. Trust me, you’ll pick up an extra 10%. And plan ahead.”

  • Read the full interview here
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