kbbreview launched several polls and chats on Instagram and Twitter throughout the week of May 20 to find out what the KBB industry thinks about the effects of Brexit.
Eighty-six per cent said that Brexit had made business worse and the same number said that they were experiencing the effects of Brexit on a day-to-day basis.
Since the Brexit vote, 81% of retailers surveyed said that they had seen a price rise from suppliers. One retailer in Hartlepool said: “From the start of Brexit, prices have gone up on everything.” While another KBB designer said: “I see it as manufacturers using it as an excuse to hike prices up.”
Designer Toby Griffin said he had also seen price rises within the KBB industry. He said on Twitter: “The devaluation of the pound has squeezed disposable income and raised the prices of all imported KBB products. The uncertainty has made consumers very careful. Both of the above have had a depressing effect on sales and growth.”
Not wanting to get too political, but I hear that the nationalist/populist parties in Europe are now no longer calling for their countries to breakaway from the EU. I wonder why…..
— Toby Griffin (@tobygriffin2) May 21, 2019
Despite the manufacturers scrambling to prepare, expand and stockpile products, retailers have not been so prepared. Almost three-quarters (73%) of retailers said they had not planned for it at all, while just under a fifth (17%) had taken a proactive approach and prepared for the UK leaving the EU.
Extranjero on Twitter claimed that the KBB industry had its head in the sand, but he didn’t believe that there was any “impending doom” awaiting the industry.
What is Brexit!! The KBB industry has its head in the sand and is more interested in who has the prettiest sandcastle. In any other industry this tweet would have lots of comments with diverse points of views.
— Extranjero (@LondresVida) May 21, 2019
Damian Walters, chief executive at The British Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom and Bathroom Installation (BiKBBI) suggested that the issue around Brexit is the uncertainty rather than the UK potentially leaving the EU.
“Unfortunately, I feel it’s less about leaving the EU and more about the general uncertainty and negative press,” said Walters. “I believe it’s fair to say that we’re in a right old pickle and I’m not sure if a victory for either side is now achievable. The damage, as they say, is already done.”