The CEO of MHK Group, one of the largest specialist kitchen and bathroom buying groups in Europe, has urged independents to play to their strengths and seize every opportunity as we navigate our way through a challenging global economy.
Addressing the 3,580 international delegates that attended the organisation’s recent general meeting in Berlin, Volker Klodwig (pictured), MHK’s newly appointed CEO, acknowledged the pressures for small businesses operating in a difficult global economy but urged independent retailers to recognise the advantages they have and to play to their strengths.
“We are facing a headwind and things are undeniably tricky for the global kitchen and bathroom market,” Klodwig said. “Covid and the war in Ukraine, among other factors, have had a profound effect on global economies and that has brought about uncertainty and slowing of consumer spend.
“We have a choppy economic sea around us, and the wind is against us, so we all have to seize every opportunity that comes our way.”
According to Klodwig, independent KBB retailers are in a prime position to succeed despite the difficult economic backdrop. MHK Group achieved turnover of €9.727 billion (£8.37bn) in 2022, which he attributed to the resilience and performance of its 3,800 retail partners in Germany and across the world.
“Specialist retailers are what is driving this industry forwards – not only in Germany but globally,” he said. “Consumers want reliability, service, expertise and this can only be achieved by retailers that are close to their customers. You just have to think – how do you convince your customers that they should use you? Focus on your strengths.”
Outlining those strengths and backing-up his positivity around the importance of independent retailers, Klodwig revealed that confidence among consumers is returning, according to the results of an online survey conducted by Civey in behalf of MHK.
“The results of the research conducted by the Civey market and opinion research institute shows that 75% of German consumers said they are ready to spend on a kitchen project and that they would want to do that through a specialist retailer.
“It also showed that there are three criteria that is important to consumers when selecting their specialist retailer: expertise and professional competence [73%], a personal, local service [51%] and good terms and conditions [42%].”