Independent KBB retailers should be allowed to operate under the same rules as their shed counterparts if they’re dealing with trade customers – that’s the main message of the new ‘Level Playing Field’ campaign launched today by kbbreview and the KBSA.
Official government lockdown rules state that ‘builders merchants and suppliers of products and tools used in building work and repair’ are allowed to open. But then go on to specifically say that this ‘doesn’t include carpet stores and showrooms, such as those for bathrooms, kitchens, tiles and glazing.’
This simple statement is what is currently keeping KBB showrooms closed but the likes of Howdens, Magnet Trade, Trade Point and other trade-only kitchen and bathroom retailers open.
But, of course, most independent KBB showrooms deal with trade customers as well as consumers and many feel their big multiple counterparts are currently operating with an unfair advantage.
The kbbreview Level Playing Field campaign, in association with the KBSA, is calling on ALL independent retailers to contact their local government, MP and Trading Standards to demand this inequality is addressed and allow them to open to trade customers too.
They can do this by simply downloading templates of letters from kbbreview.com using the links below. These are also available from the KBSA website.
“There’s no question that there is enormous pressure on legislators and, as a result, the lockdown rules about essential retail are often vague,” said kbbreview editor Rebecca Nottingham. “But the guidelines in this area are very clear about who can open and who can’t and it clearly puts independent KBB retailers at a disadvantage when it comes to dealing with trade customers.
“I’m really hoping that by teaming up with the KBSA and launching the kbbreview Level Playing Field campaign, we can turn some of these feelings of unfairness into direct action. We really encourage every independent retailer to send off the letters as we firmly believe there is strength in numbers.”
The campaign builds on the work the KBSA has been doing over the past 12 months, lobbying Trading Standards, MPs and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), asking them to clarify guidance and legislation to make sure independent showrooms are not disadvantaged.
KBSA national chair Richard Hibbert said: “We are delighted to be working together with kbbreview to raise awareness of this issue. We hope that many retailers will join us in targeting their local Government, calling for a level playing field for the independent retailer and helping to protect our sector.”
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