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STUART COOK THE ERT INTERVIEW


The Euronics Showcase will return in March 2021.


16


Q: You had to cancel this year’s Euronics Showcase. What are your plans for next year? SC: I’m pleased to say that, COVID permitting, we will have another show next year. We’re up and running and fully booked for 28-29 March 2021 at the NEC. We are really excited! It’ll be a similar setup and we’re pushing social


media more than ever this time with experts on- hand and the return of the social media surgery. There will also be a training programme for


selling and upselling. Many independent retailers in our group have told me they feel they have lost that skill. For example, if a customer is looking for the Which? Best Buy product, rather than just simply selling that and waving them goodbye, with a bit of advice and retraining the retailer can sell the benefits of all the matching products that are just as good and in stock, but perhaps at a higher price point. Everybody wins!


Q: What has this year been like on the supplier side? SC: Well there was no training course on how to navigate the last few months. Clearly, across Europe, a lot of manufacturers started closing factories down. It was a knee-jerk reaction from a lot of companies and this increased demand led to stock shortages. Some shut down completely, even online, so


when they reopened they boomed. One or two clever manufacturers started stockpiling and thinking ahead, but the UK was at the end of the waiting list and by the time we came out of lockdown, other European countries had taken a lot of the saved stock. It was total chaos really, even as far as Malaysia and Turkey… everyone was struggling.


Q: How do you see this being resolved? SC: Everybody is saying there will be a cliff edge soon when we get back to normality – or the new normal. At the moment consumers are buying what they want and feeling a little flush, but my concern is that will suddenly stop and people will start going on holidays again and spending their money elsewhere. The question is, when? The industry is struggling to get back on track


in terms of stock and availability and my thought is that we’ll all get ourselves sorted just in time for Black Friday! Then it’ll go mad again and throw everything off course. I can see Black Friday being very different this year.


Q: Looking ahead, what are your concerns for the industry? SC: My major concern right now is the forecast for a December/January phase two of COVID-19. If that is region by region I think we can cope, but if we go back into a severe UK-wide lockdown, I think the country would really struggle and the economy would be nothing short of a disaster, especially as December is normally a great time of year for trading. If we went back into lockdown I think we’ve


all learned lessons from the first time; however, I wouldn’t be confident that customers would come back again a second time – I’m not sure they would have the money the second time around. That is a big concern.


Q: You recently announced your plans for retirement next year. What led you to that decision? SC: After many years of working very hard, my wife and I decided that it’s time for us to start enjoying life outside of work, while we still have our health. I also wanted to walk away when I had


reached the top of my game. I’ve never seen CIH in such a good place before, and I believe that I can step back from this role being proud of what I’ve achieved. It’s now time for me to pass the reins over to someone new who has a different skillset and can take the company forward.


Euronics is the lead partner of the Saracens Mavericks netball team.


Q: What are you looking forward to most in retirement? SC: My wife and I have some very exciting plans. We are going to travel across the UK; there are so many beautiful places in this country that I


haven’t yet visited, and I want to explore what’s right on our doorstep. After that we will also travel Europe. I also plan on pursuing my hobbies more. I


thoroughly enjoy gardening – we grow our own fruit and vegetables at home – and I run the local allotment society, so I will look at spending more time enjoying the outdoors. I will also carry on following rugby very closely and will look to get involved more in the local rugby club, possibly through coaching. I would also like to pursue a history degree,


study wine in a bit more detail and get involved with charity work, as it’s time for me to give something back. Before I leave CIH, my aim is to get the new


website looking and performing at its best. This is a key driver for me, and I will work with the new CEO over the next 12 months to achieve a fantastic new online resource for our members and drive more sales to their stores.


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