O “It’s great to be back”

The member-only Euronics Showcase returned with a bang at the Birmingham NEC last month after a three- year hiatus and there was positive feedback all-round from the various manufacturers that ERT spoke to.

in Portugal, as well as our golf day in June; he wants to try and put some more fun back into the business again, which I certainly agree with. Steve’s also very keen on driving new members.

ver 92 per cent of CIH members

attended the two-day 2019 Euronics Showcase, which took place on 7-8 April, meeting with suppliers to familiarise themselves with the latest products and services available. There was also the chance to benefit from social media support at various stands across the Show, to find out about the upcoming Euronics conference, as well as the new liveries available for retailers’ vehicles and stores. In an exclusive chat at the end of the Show,

ERT Editor Jack Cheeseman sat down with CIH Chief Executive Officer Stuart Cook to reflect on the two days. “This year, it’s more compact, it looks busier and

the members are loving everything,” he said. “All the suppliers are happier because, clearly, the cost is less, and it just works. It’s a perfect size, and everybody’s had a great time.” The last edition of the Showcase was a larger scale

event, but Mr Cook said that having taking on board feedback from its members, the group decided to take a break in recent years. He also reported that CIH will now be replicating the smaller size format show in Birmingham in the coming years and that most manufacturers had already approached him about signing up for next year.

Q: What’s the feedback been like? SC: It’s been incredible – we’ve had some great feedback across the board. Also, some of the new stuff that’s come in, like Ring and all the smart home bulbs and door locks, has been great. The supplier came up to me and said that he cannot believe it – he’s been trying to get into the independents for ages; he turned up here and he’s been inundated! Built-in continues to do well for us and our social

media stand has been phenomenal too. With independent retailers selling online nowadays and social media being increasingly important, the response has been great. I really want to thank all the suppliers for being

here and all the members for turning up, because without everyone coming together we wouldn’t have a show. And then a big thank you to the CIH team for all their hard work too. At the moment the industry definitely needs this lift; the one thing that members and suppliers have been saying to us is that “it’s great to be back”.

Q: With the recent re-brand and now you’ve got Steve Scogings [new CIH Chairman] on board too, how does this show fit in with CIH’s movement going forward? SC: If you are looking for reasons to be in this buying group, you don’t have to look around too much. We’re doing everything here really; we’re speaking to a lot of new members about associate membership, which is our new way to market, and we’ve got the new branding, clothing and fasciae too, so we’re in a good place with lots of exciting stuff going on. Steve wanted to do the conference again this year which takes place on 15-18 September,

It’s obviously critical going forward – it’s all about buying at the end of the day. As a retailer himself he can speak to other retailers easily in order to spread the message and keep in touch with members and potential new members.

Q: What does the future look like at CIH? SC: We’re still pushing premium products, built- in kitchens and connected home technology. Our Blomberg brand is going from strength to strength and at the Retra Conference back in March, Mark Pilkington said “it’s all about getting your own brands because manufacturers will eventually go direct to consumers”. I have to say I buy into that – because everyone’s changing the way they go to market. It won’t happen any time soon, but it’s really important that we start looking at our ways of working as this could be the future. I’m a believer in staying true to what you do,

but you have to move with the change in the market, whether you’re small or large, you can’t ignore change.

Q: So, what can retailers do to move with the times? SC: I think first of all you need to be in a buying group – that’s absolutely critical more than ever now. I think cash flow is going to be important going forward, especially with Brexit. We are currently buying in up to six weeks additional stock for our members because clearly if, all of a sudden, we go for a hard Brexit, we could have six weeks without any stock in this industry. I think the key thing is making sure you’re

prepared. My advice is that you need to know who your key suppliers are, who you can’t live without and you need to talk to them. And what is your Brexit strategy? What does it look like if it goes pear-shaped? Planning ahead is absolutely essential at this stage.

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