“We need to keep the skills in this industry…”

It’s vital we strive to keep and continue to grow the skills we have by supporting those who’ve lost their jobs because of the crisis, says Stephen Johnson, md of Quooker, explaining why he is supporting the kbbreview Save Our Skills campaign.

The covid crisis has undoubtedly shaken the kitchen, bedroom and bathroom industry, with considerable and persistent financial pressures and staff welfare strains placed on retailers, manufacturers and businesses across the country.

With thousands of showrooms and manufacturing plants shut, staff placed on furlough and resultant redundancies, we’ve undergone some of the toughest trading conditions this industry has ever had to face.

At Quooker, we too have felt the strain the crisis has placed on the industry. We’ve seen first hand how its affected smaller, independent retailers and how changing consumer habits have dramatically impacted sales. However during these difficult times, brands are faced with two choices. To shrivel up and remain inward focused, or to work together sharing expertise and resources, to help the industry re-build, recover and thrive.

I’ve grown up in this industry and passionately believe we have a wider responsibility of support wherever possible. It’s essential that companies and retailers unite and do what they can for the industry.

If help isn’t given, I perceive a significant problem.

Throughout lockdown, we’ve launched a number of initiatives to help our dealers, installers and the wider kbb network. Back in March, we launched our kbb helpline which sought to partner struggling retailers with industry heavyweights to share resources and expertise. We then introduced our ‘Covid-19: Quooker Support for Businesses’ scheme which offered dealers the ability to freeze accounts for a period of up to three months. We’ve also pledged £100,000 media spend to support the wider kitchen industry, encouraging consumers to return to the high street and driving footfall to showrooms.

I’m acutely aware how tough financial conditions have forced many companies to retreat and therefore redundancies are natural. But I believe it’s vital we strive to keep and continue to grow the skills we have, by supporting those who’ve lost their jobs because of the crisis. It’s all of our roles to get those affected back into employment.

We’re therefore honoured to be sponsoring kbbreview’s Save Our Skills newsletter which seeks to match kbb professionals with companies who have vacancies. There is a wealth of talent out there which brands can and should make the most of.

There is a future after covid-19 and there is light at the end of the tunnel. Our June year-on-year figures are up, we’re seeing retailers opening up and resuming full services; the markets are live and working. At Quooker, we’re committed to supporting the kitchen industry and implore other brands to do the same.


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