Wren has confirmed that it is abiding by the new government rules and is closing its retail showrooms to the public.
It is still not clear if it plans to remain open to supply trade and, as of 2pm on November 20, the website has yet to be updated and is still offering in-store appointments.
The news came via the official Wren Twitter account, however it is believed that stores are still open today but will close tomorrow and design appointments will switch to virtual.
Welsh and Scottish showrooms remain open in line with local restrictions.
The status of Wren in particular has been the focus of many independent retailers who have been insisting that if Wren stays open then they will too. The Twitter response came from answering disgruntled independents who were challenging the status of Wren directly.
So far Wren has not responded to kbbreview.
It follows news that Magnet has also confirmed to kbbreview it is closing its retail stores and Wickes has said that while its stories remain open as an essential retailer, its kitchen and bathroom showrooms will close and design appointments will move online.
Homebase has also confirmed to kbbreview that it is also following the new government rules.
A Homebase spokeperson said: “As ever, our first priority is creating a safe shopping environment for our team members and customers. In line with government guidance, we have closed our standalone Bathstores and Kitchens & Bathroom Showroom, while our Homebase stores, including those with showrooms, remain open. Access to these areas will be controlled, to ensure our stores remain covid-secure, and wherever possible we are focussing on serving customers through our virtual design service.”
There is still confusion across the whole sector over whether or not showrooms can open for trade and many retailers are saying they will continue to do so unless told otherwise.
Kbbreview is waiting for a response on that question from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
The Kbsa has welcomed the news that Wren and Magnet are to close their stores, national chair Richard Hibbert said, “We have been relentless in our pursuit of Trading Standards to clarify the position of Wren and Magnet, since the guidelines were changed.
“It was disadvantageous to our members and all independent showrooms that Wren and Magnet had chosen to keep their showrooms open, despite clear guidance that they should close”.
“The current lockdown is challenging for all retailers, as an association we do not wish to see any business in difficulty but we must protect our member’s interests, and have worked hard to ensure that level playing field is maintained in terms of closures”.
Listen to KBSA chairman Richard Hibbert discuss the shock order to close in this special episode of The kbbreview Podcast. Listen using the player below or search ‘kbbreview’ in your podcast app of choice.