Howdens boss reveals estimated drop in overall kitchen market

Andrew Livingston, CEO, Howdens
Andrew Livingston, CEO, Howdens

Andrew Livingston, the CEO of kitchen giant Howdens, has given his estimate of the current health of the kitchen market. The sector, he says, is currently facing ‘challenging’ economic conditions.

Speaking at a presentation of the company’s half year results – which you can hear highlights of on the latest episode of The kbbreview Podcast – Livingston revealed how much he thinks the market is down by.

“[We estimate] that the market is down somewhere between 10% and 15% in volume in the first half [of 2023],” he said. “This is not a well recorded market but we take a strong sense from what our key suppliers are doing with us, and others in the market, and we get a sense from our managers where we’re at so that’s our best guess.”

In the results, that cover from January to end of June, the company saw comparable profits fall but still delivered a strong performance given the market conditions.

Livingston said he was ‘pleased’ with the company’s market share but said “we want more, we want more all the time and we think that will come in the second half. We don’t think the competitors are as organised as we are currently.”

This comes after Howdens research revealed that it believed the potential kitchen market was much bigger than they thought.

In February last year, Howdens bought solid surface manufacturer Sheridans in a bid to expand its mid- to upper-end offering – a move that Livingston said has been very successful.

“A strategic priority for us is the development of a market leading supply and fit capability for premium work surfaces,’ he said. “Solid surfaces worktops are often, but not exclusively, associated with the sale of higher priced kitchens and this product category is a growing segment of the market and a significant opportunity for us.

“Following the acquisition of the Sheridans worktop business, and our other investments, our solid surface manufacturing capability is among the largest in the UK. The number of solid surface orders taken by depots has increased significantly in 2023 and we continue to improve our offer.

“With the integration of Sheridans largely complete, we are reducing the time between template and fit to an industry leading five days.”

You can hear the full highlights from the Howdens presentation on the latest episode of The kbbreview Podcast. Listen using the player below or by going straight to it on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or YouTube.

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