Grohe chief executive Michael Rauterkus said he sees huge opportunities in the UK market and has brushed off concerns over the uncertainty of Brexit.
“Our potential in the UK is so big, Brexit is irrelevant,” said Rauterkus. “We have enough market share to gain. We are doing OK, but there are huge opportunities to grow.”
Grohe has seen growth again in the UK over the past year, as well as the rest of the 150 countries it operates in.
Like many other KBB manufacturers, Grohe has invested in bringing more stock into the UK. Rauterkus implemented this strategy to meet customer expectations and so that the company would be have the stock to meet demand, no matter what the political environment.
Increasing stock levels was a long and expensive process for Grohe. Rauterkus said: “Bringing in so much stock is expensive – it is not a free lunch. So, you really need to find the balance, but it is something we had to do. In the next few months, we have to be prepared. The good thing was that we had enough time – we were pretty relaxed about this and we can really focus on the business.
“People here [in the UK] are getting tired of the debates going on and on. We said that we would get enough inventory here and move on with our lives.”
Rauterkus said this also led to an improvement in the service the company provided to its customers: “The only thing that we can do is be prepared, so we made sure that we increased our inventory and are prepared for any case. Which gave the side effect that our service level to our customers improved because we brought in much more product into the UK.
“Because we are in an industry where the full bathroom is only complete when you deliver every single item. You can’t be halfway through a project and realise that a part you need is in a Düsseldorf warehouse. Therefore, we had to get prepared.”
Rauterkus sees a lot of potential for London, not just from the retailer’s side, but for architects who work out of London on projects all over the world. So, he sees Brexit as a broader picture.
He said: “London for us is not only a market for UK, but also for the rest of the world. The customers we have here – architects, designers – they are operating out of London, but not necessarily in the 100% in the UK.”