Nearly two-thirds of KBB retailers say that footfall has already been noticeably or significantly affected by the coronavirus uncertainty.
In an exclusive kbbreview survey, 89% of retailers revealed that they are worried about the long-term damage to business.
However, 80% of the 108 retailers surveyed said that product supply had yet to be affected .
John Pelosi from Caldicot Kitchen and Bathroom Centre said: “Footfall is down a little and there are certainly conversations with clients around coronavirus. With many of our clients of retirement age, they have one eye on self-isolating and are also more aware of the risks of strangers working in their homes.”
The lower footfall is being felt by everyone, with postponed or cancelled customer appointments, including visits from supplier sales reps.
One kitchen retailer told kbbreview: “An elderly customer has put installation off until further notice as he is worried about having fitters in his property.”
The cancellation of sales rep visits by retailers is also having a knock-on effect, an unnamed sales agent told us it was directly hitting his pocket.
“Already I’ve had retailers and merchants saying that they are not accepting any visits from reps or agents – and for an agent that is only being paid on results, this will have a significantly negative impact on my income.”
While supply, as of writing, is relatively unaffected, many suppliers are anticipating issues and are trying to work with retailers.
“Many suppliers are starting to put out information to brief us, if only to indicate they are monitoring the situation and looking to be flexible,” said John Pelosi at Caldicot.
“Some have indicated they will now offer ‘to site’ delivery at no additional cost, in order to minimise person to person contact.”
The survey also revealed that 65% of those surveyed said they hadn’t ruled out closing their showrooms completely, with 5% already closed or limiting opening hours. Richard Miles from Benchmark Kitchens and Interiors said: “We can’t afford to just close down in case someone serious wants to spend money while they have the time off work.”
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