Two-thirds of kbb retailers still closed

Nearly two-thirds of retailers did not open their showrooms in the days that followed the Wren reveal.

In a kbbreview snap survey last week of just over 100 retailers, 64% said that they had not opened and, of them, two-thirds said they it was because it didn’t feel it was morally right.

Many saw the right to open ahead of non-essential retail as the exploitation of a loophole and they should stay closed to continue to do their part towards the national fight against coronavirus.

Anecdotally, most were expecting an announcement that official Government guidelines will change on June 1 and they would be formally allowed to reopen.

However, yesterday’s announcement by the Prime Minister that non-essential retail would be allowed to open on June 15 – providing they follow all social distancing guidelines – may still change the minds of some.

Those that did reopen following the Wren revelation, or were planning to reopen as soon as possible, said that with all social distancing measures in place, opening by appointment only was safely meeting a customer demand.

Here are just some of the retailer comments collected by kbbreview:

No, we are not opening…

  • “I am in the showroom behind closed doors dealing with deliveries and collections.  I will only open the showroom fully once the government has given the say so.”
  • “It’s incredibly difficult, but I personally think it is exploiting a loophole. We are not essential or trade. After careful consideration, I think that the bad PR locally would outweigh any enquiries received over the next two weeks. We are very much gearing up for June 1 and are putting everything in place for that date in order to open safely.”
  • “Companies can read between the lines of the government guidelines all they wish, but we are retail showrooms.  If they want to blur their description to be classed as homeware, building supplies or hardware stores then so be it. There is a moral decision to make of lives over profit. When the lock down is lifted on or around the June 1 my retail showroom will reopen for business.”
  • “It’s tough but everyone should follow the rules – visiting a showroom is not an essential journey, so any showrooms that are open are effectively asking their clients to break the law by visiting them…”
  • “We are in a small market town that has worked hard to maintain a close community spirit and it would be business suicide to open just yet. The loopholes wouldn’t wash with the community and it would be a PR disaster.”
  • “After reading the original article regarding Wren Kitchens, my first and most relevant thought, like many others I’m sure,  was that you can’t class going shopping for kitchens, bedrooms or bathrooms as being essential,  my second thought was that it was wrong for them to have an advantage.  So, as painful as it is not being open my doors, I will stand alongside all the other businesses in my area that are following the non-essential rules, and I will simply make sure I am 100 % ready to open at the beginning of June.”
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Yes, I am opening…

  •  “I work in the showroom on my own so when a customer comes in it will be easy to keep safe distance.”
  • “We have opened up our workshop and have implemented distancing measures. As for the showroom, we are open if customers would like to come and see us but, again, adopting distancing measures accordingly.
  • “We opened last Thursday and it’s been really busy. We’ve taken new enquiries for five kitchens and we’ve lined up four appointments for projects we were working on before the shutdown.”
  •  “Having understood the appetite of over half of our prospects it became quite apparent that we should open our doors once again albeit by appointment only. New policies are now documented, in line with government directives.”

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