NEWS | Round-up

Over half of retailers think ‘horrific’ supply problems are getting worse

THE VAST majority of KBB retailers think that the issues surrounding product availability are either not showing any signs of improvement or actually even getting worse.

In fact, in a social media poll, 54% said the problems were getting worse while 38% said it had remained static. Stuart Parry, from Purple Kitchens in Liverpool, described the problems as “absolutely horrific”.

“It is now becoming an impossible task to manage,” he said. “With ever growing demand and yet no signs of things getting better, just worse, the worst thing is no one can give us answers.”

Justine Bullock, co-owner of The

Tap End in Pontyclun in south Wales, agreed, saying the situation was a “nightmare”. “We have been saying for the past two weeks that supplier communi- cations are getting worse not better. Stock levels are worse now than at any other time during the pandemic and we have a number of suppliers

who have taken to turning their phones off or putting a voicemail on saying their offices are on reduced staff so they can only take calls for X hours a day or week.”

And Rob Cole, the owner of Sheffield Sustainable Kitchens also confirmed the problem was affecting his business.

Retailer reputations on the line as big brands struggle with supply chains

ONE RESPECTED KBB retailer has said he feels like manufacturers have ‘hung him out to dry’ by their lack of support in explaining the supply chain problems to consumers. On an episode of The kbbreview Podcast Shehryar Khan (pictured), owner of Sheraton Interiors in Twickenham, revealed how one customer was literally holding his reputation to ransom.

When appliances did not arrive on time for this customer’s installation, he said that unless Sheraton Interiors paid him the difference, he would post a bad review online. Khan said: “We were trying to inform them before we actually started the installation. What we got back was a barrage of abuse from an extremely unhappy customer. They accused us of not managing our supply chain.” Khan said manufacturers had a responsibility to support retailers: “I understand that there are genuine issues, but I just feel perhaps [manufacturers] can support us betterso we can all just get through this together. I feel retailers have been hung out to dry.


“I feel let down to be honest. Several big brands have been disclosing substantial growth figures. We know that demand is really high right now, but it would have been good PR for them to assign a small chunk of those sales to support independents, who probably account for a large chunk of their business. All we’re asking for is a little bit of help so that if we have a disgruntled client, we have somewhere to go and show that it’s not our fault. Because clients automatically assume it’s our fault.” Also on the podcast was reputation management expert Andrew Hulland of Igniyte. He had this advice for retailers facing similar problems with bad reviews online: “Take the conversation off-line as quickly as possible. Have a strategy in place to deal with it as and when it becomes visible online. It shouldn’t be something you have to deal with on your own. There should be guidelines and people who can help on these review platforms.”

Omega celebrates 25th anniversary with £20m investment

TO CELEBRATE 25 years of business, British kitchen brand Omega has completed a £20 million investment programme and is also introducing a new 20-year guarantee. The Yorkshire-based company is continuing to invest and has increased its total site operation to 400,000sq ft and stockholding capacity by 43%, along with a state-of-the-art production facility. Omega’s factory output has increased to 17,000 kitchens a year with the production capacity and stockholding to manufacture up to 43,000 kitchens a year.

The brand has also extended its £1 million kitchen showroom, a move that Omega says makes it the largest, professional business-to-business display area in the UK.

This is in response to the impact on

the import of goods from within the EU after Brexit finalisations in 2020. It now has a 13,000sq ft showroom with more than 60 full kitchen displays. Omega chief executive Simon Barber said: “I feel incredibly proud that we are going forward into the next 25 years in such great shape. Despite the current challenges facing the industry from material, skilled labour and appliance shortages caused by Covid and Brexit, Omega continues to deliver high-quality, innovative, made- for-life kitchens, on time and in full.” Barber added: “The team behind Omega have been at the heart of the company’s achievement, adapting to ways of working and continuing to produce exceptional quality products. The nearly 400-strong team have been the backbone of the company’s success.”

· October 2021

“It was bad already and it’s definitely getting worse, with increasing costs, delays, and availability issues. It’s bad for the consumer and the business. Not sure there’s a winner out there!” Jamie Abbott, national contract sales manager at Uform, warned that he believed the situation will get worse before it gets better.

“That’s when I think things will come to a head,” he said. “Supply lines are at their limits now. If you look at the usual busy period towards the end of the year, [that’s when] we will see bigger supply issues within the KBB market. Raw materials is still a big issue and I don’t see things changing for the next six to 12 months.”

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