“Retail has definitely changed”

With his years of experience at the CIH buying group, CEO Stuart Cook knows a thing or two about the electrical retail industry. He’s witnessed a lot of change in many areas, but nothing quite like the ups and downs we’ve seen this year. Here, he talks to Jack Cheeseman.

campaign and the return of the Euronics Showcase in April. However, COVID-19 put a stop to most of this. There is no doubt that electrical retail has been hugely impacted by the UK’s lockdown restrictions, but as the industry begins to return to a new normal, some businesses have enjoyed great success in recent weeks as consumers hit the high streets. Someone who knows the full effect this year


has had, looking after the interests of several hundred independent electrical retailers across

ike most businesses at the start of this year, CIH, the electrical buying group, part of Euronics, had big plans for 2020, including a unique branding

the country, is the buying group’s Chief Executive, Stuart Cook. Catching up with Mr Cook this month, he

speaks passionately about how well Euronics retailers faired during the ups and downs of the pandemic so far. The biggest thing he noticed as shops began to re-open, he tells ERT, is the enthusiasm for local retail. During the first week of non-essential shops being allowed to open, Mr Cook went out and about to witness for himself how consumers were responding. “I was shocked at how many people were

queuing outside our shops,” he exclaims. “People were literally waiting to be the first ones back in! So if you know that people are willing to queue

up for opening time, amid this global crisis, the chances are they are willing to buy something. It was great for the members.” Mr Cook believes there has been a real demand

in recent months for local retail and services. He says that customers have enjoyed the unique one- on-one personal service and advice they have been getting in stores. “It’s someone they can actually speak to again,”

he adds. “We’ve almost done a u-turn back to what independent retailers were good at years ago – that truly personal touch – and I think retailers need to capitalise on this trend. “To quote some of our members – retail has definitely changed.”

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