Half of retailers will open showrooms during lockdown

In a kbbreview survey of 100 retailers, half (55%) said they would open their showrooms during the new month-long lockdown.

The survey, which was sent to retailers who have joined up to be part of the new kbbreview100 retailer initiative, asked whether they would open if they got formal clarification of rules.

Forty-five per cent of those surveyed said that they would stay closed or open by appointment only until December 2, regardless of further clarification from the Government.

The results of the survey come just hours after the KBSA confirmed that KBB retailers were officially allowed to remain open during the new lockdown. The advice follows the publication of both legislation and guidance regarding ‘non-essential’ retail. As with the previous lockdown, the Government has stated that ‘hardware stores & builders merchants’ are classed as essential retail.

In the exclusive kbbreview survey, retailers were also asked how much they thought the new lockdown would affect business and consumer demand.

Thirteen per cent of those retailers surveyed said that they thought the month-long lockdown would have a significant effect on business – with 2% stating they were worried they would see a big drop in demand.

However, more than a third (36%) said they were only expecting to see a “bit of a dip” in consumer interest, with 32% revealing they were confident demand would “stay the same” despite the restrictions.

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Jake Colwill, representing nationwide Kutchenhaus franchisees, said: “We saw a spike in enquiries last lockdown as people were at home more, so we’re hoping to see the same again. This time, the showrooms feel comfortable to open for one-to-one appointments and are confident they can still convert those new enquiries to sales.”

Richard Reynolds, chairman of independent retail business CP Hart, added: “Lockdown is not a light switch: business can be stopped quite quickly, but getting things going after lockdown will be a slow recovery, as we saw earlier this year.”

Speaking more positively about the change in the way her business now operates, in light of coronavirus, Allie Daden the managing director of Daden Interiors in Fleet said: “We’ve found that operating on an appointment only basis, and with follow ups via Zoom, has actually gotten rid of the time wasters. It means we can concentrate on spending more time on the designs and with the customers that are looking to buy. We have actually sold more by operating this way.”

Have you heard the latest episode of The kbbreview Podcast ? It’s all about whether kbb retailers are choosing to open in the new lockdown and how they think it might affect business. Listen using the player below or search ‘kbbreview’ in your podcast app of choice…

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