‘The middle market disappeared long before Brexit’

Gary Walmsley, managing director of Bolton retailer Designer Walls and More, believes Brexit has had an effect on business but that there were troubles brewing anyway that were nothing to do with it


Brexit has had an effect on business but, in all honesty, the domestic middle market had long since disappeared before the saga of Brexit, although there are pockets in the UK that are fairly buoyant.

In general, I believe it is the economy that is the real issue and the lack of installation contractors that has contributed to the slowdown in the ‘bricks-and-mortar KBB industry.

Recently a fellow showroom owner I knew well closed his long-established company in a reasonable area for business. He rang me first to explain the reasons, as he knew I would understand.

And Kingfisher’s grand plan for Screwfix online and in towns where there are ‘trade counters’ and normal B&Q outlets seems a little bit of a business own goal.

I think the Brexit effect is maybe felt more in our industrial heartlands. London, of course, is London, and seems to be buoyant. Mind you, Finchley Road showrooms must have rates and rents that are extortionate. I know as I enquired about a store in Angel, Islington.

Has the Finchley Road bubble burst? In fact, the bubble seems to be bursting at all levels – even the internet mob aren’t having it all their own way in terms of profit.

I’m more multi-stream now and certainly could not rely on just KBB business.

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