Appliance shortages continue to frustrate retailers

Kitchen retailers are still suffering the effects of shortages on all types large appliances from several major brands.

In a poll of our kbbreview100 nationwide team of KBB retailers, every single kitchen retailer said they were experiencing appliance delays.

Many retailers have different ideas on what is causing the delays, but it is most likely a combination of factors such as border delays following Brexit, Covid-related delays or a knock-on effect from the Suez Canal blockage.

Tony Robson, owner of Day Ture in London, explained how it is affecting his business: “We are seeing issues from appliance manufacturers mostly, but all manufacturers in general. Of course, they blame Brexit or Covid and now they have the Suez Canal issue to use. Brexit and Covid have now been around for a long time and you would have thought that they’d have had their supply chains well in order before now.”

However, after all the issues retailers have experienced in the past year, many have been able to adapt. Martina Landhed, director at InStil Design in Oxfordshire, explained: “In the beginning of this year, post-Brexit, we are still experiencing some longer delivery times from Europe, but we do now plan in an extra week or two to cover for this scenario.”

Tony Passmore, CEO and MD of the Passmore Group, based in Leeds, has multiple appliance issues and he believes that the increased demand will just exacerbate the problem.

He said: “Obviously, kitchen appliances are a massive problem and I can’t see it being resolved any time soon, so I guess we’ll have to live with it. If demand increases as we expect, I think this will only add to the problem as manufacturers and distributors work to meet demand at a time when they need to increase stock.”

Some retailers have had estimates of how long the delays will continue, with some manufacturers forecasting the end of Q3. Others have increased their lead times.

As many retailers used lead times as a selling point to their clients, the delays and uncertainty mean that they may not get their kitchens on time. Ciaran Leyne, director at Trilogy Designs in London, is having this issue. He said: “One of our USPs is that our furniture is made locally and we can offer a bespoke, painted kitchen in three to four weeks. However, this does not give us enough time to secure appliance stock.”

Matthew Parnum, owner of ICE Interiors in Lymington, said that this is the worst situation he has ever experienced. He said: “Our single biggest headache is appliances, and I am sorry to say but the current situation is the worst we have ever experienced. The information and communication about stock and availability is extremely poor and we are having to order products with little accurate information of when anything is going to be available. 

“They issue a weekly ‘traffic light’ document with an estimate of anything between three and 12 weeks and some arrive in days, but for other products, like dishwashers, they simply cannot supply any kind of lead time. This means we are having to accept deliveries before they are actually required, store and double-handle products and pay earlier, affecting our cashflow.  We have also lost orders as we cannot guarantee delivery and some people have simply ordered products elsewhere.”

Dishwashers were cited a few times by the kbbreview100 as being particularly hard to get hold of. However, there have been delays for other things, such as raw materials.

John Pelosi, owner of Caldicot Kitchens in south Wales, said: “It has been predominantly in appliances, with certain brands worse than others, and with a general shortage of refrigeration and dishwashers. Delays are certainly also visible on bathroom products from the Far East. Periodically, we are still caught out by shortages of staple products – plaster, plasterboard, timber and paint – but we work hard to pre-empt these where possible.

“While not Brexit-related, it seems as though German unit manufacturers also have longer delivery times. Given that we predominantly sell British furniture, we are happy to fill the gaps with UK-produced goods.”

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