Neue Alno, the new owner of Alno fitted kitchens, has dropped its UK prices by up to a fifth, according to dealers that have reactivated their accounts.
The owner of Hampshire Kitchens in Alton said that the German furniture brand was now available between 15% and 20% cheaper than before its parent firm suddenly declared insolvency last summer and shut its factory.
Hampshire Kitchens owner Jerry Craven, whose showroom was an Alno dealer even before he took it over 18 years ago, said: “The price is more competitive than it was. It’s at the right place now.”
Neue Alno has recently launched a new website for the UK, which lists Halcyon Interiors in Wigmore Street as its UK marketing partner. It has no international subsidiaries and is selling directly from its Pfullendorf factory.
“It’s financial problems had nothing to do with the kitchens they make. It was all to do with the complicated financial structure of the company and mismanagement”
Jason Carley, portfolio manager at RiverRock and chairman of the supervisory board, Neue Alno
Albany Kitchens in Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire, believes this is the reason that the firm is able to offer a better price point.
Hampshire Kitchens and Albany Kitchens are two of 11 showrooms listed on the Alno UK website as having active Alno accounts.
Albany Kitchens owner Andy Green said he met with the new Alno management team and investors a few weeks ago at Küchenmeile.
He said: “I wasn’t expecting a lot, but they had quite a few new products coming out, including new doors. The investors outlined some of the future plans for Alno. It seems like they’ve picked up where they’ve left off and the delivery timeline is better – between five and six weeks.
“The whole thing seems to be better without the UK subsidiary,” he added.
Craven at Hampshire Kitchens said he hadn’t sold any of his new Alno furniture yet and has a promotional banner on the home page of his company’s website offering 25% off the retail price of any Alno range to win back customers.
Until a few weeks ago, the old Alno UK website was still live and saying that the firm was in liquidation, which Craven said was a “problem” in getting customers to reconsider the brand.
Despite losing a £56,000 order last summer, when Alno’s former parent firm Alno AG unexpectedly declared insolvency and closed down production, Craven did not remove his displays, selling British Multiwood and Uform kitchens off the back of them for the past year.
“I had great faith that Alno would come back. I honestly didn’t think they would leave the UK for good. They’ve been going for more than 40 years,” he told kbbreview.
He said he did look at other German kitchens to replace Alno at the time, but saw nothing that interested him and is happy to have the brand back.
“There are one or two changes; different carcasses. They were always innovative,” Craven said. “It’s just a good product. The English are still behind the Germans with regard to handleless kitchens. It’s difficult to put my finger on. Alno has been in the game a long time. They have the right finishes; well-fitted drawers. The English are good, but just not as good.”
The company has new products coming out for 2019, with a new carcase in dark grey and matching drawer boxes.
It is also introducing a series of new doors with metallic champagne colours, deep greys and an additional concrete range.
But not all Alno’s former customers are willing to jump straight back into new business with the brand, whose former owner’s sudden collapse under a mountain of debt last July threw the whole UK supply chain into chaos.
- Find out more about how Alno’s new parent firm is trying to rebuild its UK business after its shock departure in the November issue of kbbreview.