Swift Electrical’s commercial director Malcolm Scott reflects on a buoyant and inspirational KBB sector, but urges the industry to join forces if it wants to remain strong. He also explains why there’s no need to panic post-Brexit as consumers are still spending plenty of money
Reading the headline in last month’s issue ‘Kitchen industry still strong’ [August, pg7], I found myself thinking that this means us – we are the industry, and if our readers collectively all pull in the same direction, the industry will remain strong.
From Troy Tappenden and his bulletproof Dream Doors network, to bastions of style and design like the J S Geddes studio in Kilmarnock, from Huws Gray and its ‘industrial feel’ merchant showrooms to the splendid new Kestrel Furniture showroom in Norwich. From Hotpoint with its Red Dot Award-winning new appliances to Carron with its new ‘bang-on-the-money’ Columbia sink. Our sector is full of movers and shakers who have created great businesses supporting this £1 billion+ industry.
Every designer, every showroom manager and owner, every manufacturer and distributor, plays a part in creating demand, as does everyone who serves the studio sector, such as the CAD providers and the brochure designers. They all play their part in making the purchase of a dream kitchen a priority for the consumer.
Make no mistake, competition is very tough, with luxury cruises, Caribbean holidays and fancy cars vying for a limited pot of consumer expenditure. If we make kitchens interesting, consumers will continue to spend more on them.
News of Trevor Scott’s visit to Schüller in Germany, hosted by Wayne Dance and the Inhouse team [kbbreview, August, pg15]; the Omega Furniture Group’s Mackintosh, English Rose and Sheraton recent open days, hosted by Simon Acres and his team; and Rob Taylor’s piece in the last issue of kbbreview on Waterline and Crown [August, pg 22] – all show just how much investment furniture manufacturers continue to make in creating cabinets that consumers want to buy.
The complete relaunch of Hotpoint and Whirlpool alongside the range consolidation of BSH Group, with Bosch and Neff consumer redemption promotions, all show that the appliance industry is working hard to create consumer demand. The stunning new Dolce Stil Novo range from Smeg and the relaunch of the Britannia Stanza range cooker collection give retailers ‘top-end’ appliances that will surely generate consumer demand.
Uwe Hanneck’s boundless energy at the KBSA in the relaunching of the NTG kitchen industry training initiative will also help to generate the people that we all need to work with us to make the purchase of a kitchen a great journey for the consumer. Ever more professional staff in showrooms can only be a good thing.
For many consumers, the front window of our industry is, unfortunately, the multiple DIY sheds, where they regularly see kitchen, bathroom and bedroom displays while buying gardening equipment, paint and wallpaper, as they pass through what is sometimes a very uninspiring display area. Often these displays are surrounded by badly built, overstocked freestanding cabinets that are being sold off cheap and do nothing to inspire the wish for a nice new kitchen. However, set against this, there is a steady stream of TV shows featuring the kitchen as the centre of a family lifestyle zone, offering great times for everyone, cooking exotic recipes and socialising with friends.
It is our job as the custodians of this great industry to keep things interesting and to inspire consumers to want that dream kitchen.