Stellisons hits back in display terms row

Steve Scogings, managing director of major electrical retailer Stellisons, has hit back at comments made by kbbreview columnist Trevor Scott (see kbbreview May issue) suggesting that “simple box-shifters” should not be entitled to the same terms as kitchen specialists.

The row started when Scogings (pictured left) complained to kbbreview that he was denied access to ranges sold exclusively in kitchen studios and was given less favourable terms.

Trevor Scott, who owns Rugby Fitted Kitchens, said: “When it comes to our terms, it’s the point of difference that we, as bricks-and-mortar kitchen retailers, make that help us stand out from the crowd. Nice displays, working models, cookery demonstrations, highly trained and professional staff, etc. All of which costs us a pretty penny. So it seems perfectly reasonable to me that a kitchen specialist should benefit from enhanced terms when compared to simple box-shifters.”

Scott added: “Come on Steve, we all know one of the reasons your group got into selling kitchens in the first place, don’t we? You could see your margins on white goods being eroded, probably because of the internet, so you thought you could grab back some lost margin by selling a few kitchens.”

However, Scogings rejected Scott’s comments saying: “I see that Rugby Fitted Kitchens started trading in 2003. Stellisons began retailing kitchens in the late Seventies – over three decades earlier. We may never be seen as a kitchen retailer within the industry, because our retail offering is so good, but we are kitchen retailers and we are investing and growing our offering.”

Scogings also strongly refuted Scott’s “box-shifter” allegation: “To say Stellisons is a mere box-shifter is a little naïve,” he said. “I have nine retail outlets with five of these hosting kitchen showrooms. We have over 50 fully fitted kitchens on display over these sites and all have specialist built-in products. I have four kitchen designers employed within the company as well as a general manager for the kitchen department.”

Trevor Scott
Trevor Scott

Taking up Scott’s point on the importance of highly trained staff and working displays, Scogings countered: “I have some of the most highly trained sales staff in the industry. I also insist that all built-in appliances on show in my stores are wired for demonstration as well as all the kitchen showrooms having at least one fully working demonstration kitchen. My flagship store in Ipswich has six fully working displays as well as well as a Neff sponsored cook school. We hold cookery demonstrations for Miele, Neff, Siemens, AEG and many other brands.”

Scott had also claimed he “felt well and truly insulted” by Scogings’s description of the kitchen channel as “a little one-man-band in his showroom doing maybe 50 kitchens a year… taking every penny out of the business… as he’s not interested in growing”.

However, Scogings refused to revise his opinion: “Yes there are many professional kitchen showrooms who choose to stay as they are and make a good profit year on year due to their loyal customer base and great reputation,” he said. “However, there are still a lot more than you would like to admit who in 10 years’ time will not be in this industry, as they have not planned for the future now.”

He ended by saying: “I would like to apologise to anyone that felt offended by my remarks, but if we cannot debate these issues, we will never see an improvement in our businesses going forward.”

  • For Steve Scogings’s full assessment of this issue, see the June issue of kbbreview.
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