KEEPING THE M
ike Smith, Head of Field Sales EFG Housewares, updates DIY Week on how
the company has been adapting during the lockdown period in the UK We have experienced back to
back record months during the lockdown period, experiencing demand like never before. The owners of the business took the decision very early on that we would continue to trade to serve the customers who have served us so well over the last 40 years and we were able to remain open through lockdown due to the stringent social distance measures we implemented early on and the ability to supply PPE to staff and customers alike. The influx of new customers has been fantastic and this is both through the doors and our website www.efghousewares. co.uk
and we intend to work very hard now to keep these customers who have come to EFG because of the range we carry and the ability to get stock when others struggle. At the start of the crisis we, like everyone else, saw quite frankly, amazing demand for household cleaning products and PPE products and this resulted
in having to ration the amount we were able to sell to our customers! Our paper buyer, Rashid Sadiq, commented: “At one point we were receiving two truckloads of paper products a day, literally buying up any stock we could find in the marketplace.’’ As the crisis wore on people’s attention moved on and our DIY and Toys & Games departments have seen double digit growth and, in some areas, even EFG’s stocks have been stripped bare. The hot spell during May coincided with people remaining at home and the Garden department was the department that saw the biggest growth with compost, feeds and tools seeing the biggest rise. The biggest issue we have encountered is the availability of stock suppliers have struggled massively and as a Cash and Carry/Delivered wholesale business we are only ever as good as our supply, however, we are slowly seeing these get back to something like normal and we look forward to the days we can get everything we order!
As we move into the second half of 2020 it is exceedingly difficult to see what the pattern of trade will look like. We all hope we do not see a second spike in cases as this will undoubtedly have a significant effect on our customers buying habits (but happily at the
ompany director Tony Grimshaw OBE, updates DIY Week on the latest developments at What More UK. BHETA member, What More UK, owner of home storage brand Wham, is investing in a series of multi-million pound investments
at its Altham manufacturing site. The new development will provide 26,000sqft of extra distribution space and operate as a link between their existing buildings 5 (110,000sqft) and 6 (95,000sqft). The organisation currently runs manufacturing, distribution and office space extending over 500,000sqft across its two sites, Altham and Shuttleworth Mead.
This announcement comes on the back of record turnover in 2019, and very positive business results since January of this year continuing right through the current health crisis, culminating in May 2020 having the best sales in its 21-year history. Company director Tony Grimshaw OBE: “The manufacturing sector in Lancashire, and the whole of the UK, is ready, willing and able to supply the country’s retailers in June when they are finally allowed to re-open. Britain
14 DIY WEEK JUNE 2020
HOUSE IN ORDER How is the housewares industry adapting during the Covid-19 crisis?
point of writing these fears look misplaced)
August has traditionally been our quieter month (for our UK business) but with people currently not able to go on holidays abroad this year, this may have a slightly positive effect on the high street as even before the lock down the high street was in a very precarious place.
The paradox of Covid-19 virus is it could have given a shot in the arm to those
traders who were able to supply their local community and hopefully this may make people continue to shop locally and
the people who have re discovered the joy of the ‘local’ shop or the local ‘expert’ may just continue to support rather than always going to the ‘Sheds’ or Supermarkets! Because of Covid-19 we have also been able to invest our
is ready to get back to business and we are proud to be setting the example.” “This project, and others like it, are great for the morale of our 300 colleagues. Whichever way you look at it, manufacturing is still vital to the UK economy and it shows that the UK is a country that makes things and gets the job done.” In January, What More invested in state-of-the-art bakeware machines just in time to support the country throughout lock down. The firm says they have plenty of capacity left to satisfy the UK’s retailers and their many distribution partners overseas.
Since its beginnings in 1999 What More UK has become one of the country’s most respected and reputable manufacturing firms. From its facility in Lancashire, the company flies the flag for Made of Britain around the country and overseas. What More UK exports its British brand to 73 countries around the world.
continued on page 16 www.diyweek.ne
infrastructure with a new website just around the corner and improvements to the shopping experience at our Enfield site and we look forward to welcoming existing customers to visit us in person or at www.efghousewares. co.uk
EFG Housewares is the largest independent wholesaler in the UK.
Toys and games have experienced double digit growth says Mike Smith, Head of Field Sales EFG Housewares
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