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The year ahead | FOCUS


Calacatta Maximus by Caesarstone


What the survey


‘We predict stronger than expected growth’


Amir Reske, managing director of Caesarstone UK and EMEA, is positive for 2021 and believes the pandemic showed how agile and adaptable our industry can be


Q & A


Q: Where do you think the industry will go over the next 12 to 24 months? A: We predict a stronger than expected growth in the home- renovation market, with consid- eration also being given to a weaker overall economy, which has been heavily affected by this year’s pandemic. Although the strong performance of the housing market brings with it this level of optimism, which bodes well for the long-term kitchen industry, any growth will likely be steady. We must also consider Brexit and how this will impact growth, should the UK economy be further impeded.


Q: What do you think will be the main challenges going forward? A: The ongoing coronavirus pan - demic is a significant challenge that has required careful navigation. The announcement of a vaccine was, of course, good news, but a definitive end to the crisis remains nebulous. The


market currently contains a


huge amount of pent-up demand, with projects maybe taking longer than originally anticipated, or perhaps having to be put on hold. We are expecting demand to stay high and interest in home renovations to continue, but the strength of any bounce-back will be dependent on a few key factors. These are a freedom of movement and more fluid market environment that has been missing for the past nine months, as well as the yet unknown impact of Brexit.


Q: What is your advice for retailers for the coming year? A: It is important that retailers and


January 2021 ·


showrooms stay agile. Many have changed their business model in relation to the pandemic, such as putting a focus on creating a digital presence within


the KBB market.


Retailers should assess these new introductions, deciding which still have merit in the long term. As always, retailers must continue to work closely with partners who can help generate leads and form long-term relationships that will be mutually beneficial. When choosing which brands to represent, it is important that retailers consider the overall offering, not just a lower price point.


Q: How would you rate your confidence in business over the year ahead out of 10? A: 8.5 out of 10. Despite the many problems that the year has presented to our industry, the mood among the kitchen studios that we regularly talk to is largely positive. Despite two lockdowns, the market slowdown, and having to rapidly adapt to changing circumstances on an almost weekly basis, our own business continues to be strong and 2021 looks set to be our busiest ever in terms of new product introductions. The pandemic highlighted how agile and adaptable our business environment can be. It should be seen as an opportunity to bounce back in new and exciting ways.


Q: What will be the main areas for growth in the next 12 months? A: We predict growth within the mid- to high-end kitchen market, fuelled largely by a consumer desire for quality


materials at a reasonable


price. Factors such as ease of use, hygiene, durability and longevity all come into play here.


F


eelings of optimism shone through in our retailer survey, with


84% of our kbbreview100 saying they are optimistic about the year ahead. Just over a quarter (26%) said they are ‘very optimistic’, while only 2% were pessimistic about the prospects for 2021. Summing that up, 83% said that they see the coming year as ‘good’ or ‘excellent’.


The upbeat sentiment con- tinued when we asked how they thought sales would continue over the next year, when 94% said they feel they would carry on as they did after the first lockdown in 2020, or get better (evenly split on that one at 47% each way). Encouragingly, only 2% of our kbbreview100 retailers admitted to being pessimistic about sales prospects going forward. That is not to say they didn’t


75%


of retailers are worried about supply shortages


have their concerns about the coming year and beyond, and overwhelmingly the one concern that was voiced again and again was supply shortages. Three-quarters


(75%) kbbreview100 of our had misgivings


about future supply shortages. The next biggest worry was Brexit, with 44% naming it as one of their top concerns. Just over a third of those polled (35%) said that


they are worried


worst the pandemic could throw at them and are doing great bu s in e s s , with prospects of good or better to come in 2021 and beyond.


showed...


The mood was positive when we polled our panel of kbbreview100 retailers for their feelings about the year ahead


of retailers are optimistic about the year ahead


84%


As well as answering our survey questions, many retailers took the time to tell us more about their thinking on the year ahead. John Pelosi of the Caldicot Kitchen and Bathroom Centre in Wales says: “While I was concerned at how trade might bounce back after the initial lockdown, we were amazed at just how well it did, with our forward order book larger than usual at this time of year.” One anonymous respondent was not so upbeat, saying: “The economic shock caused by the pandemic has caused consumer confidence to plummet. Con- sumers have remained pessimistic and are concerned about the UK’s economic prospects and their personal finances. Throw in Brexit and rising unemployment and the forecast points to the worst recession in years.” Stock shortages were a big concern, too. Ciaran Leyne at Trilogy Designs in London says: “I have little hope of this improving in the


immediate future. We are about


continuing lockdowns in the future, and just under a quarter (21%) had concerns about installations as a result of all these factors. Our survey shows that the KBB industry and its retail champions have bounced back after the


see current sales levels continuing at current levels


94%


already encouraging customers to source their own appliances from the internet if they can get hold of appliances we are waiting on.” Trevor Scott, owner of Rugby Fitted Kitchens, agrees: “Our biggest problems with managing growth will be continued supplier shortages, which are a massive headache already, so need to be resolved asap. Our suppliers need to look very closely at extending credit limits.” A bullish Andrew Warnes at COD in Altrincham has the final word: “I remain confident for 2021. We all need to keep being positive and wor- king hard.”


35


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