In an unique interview with kbbreview, Stuart Cook, chief govt of Combined Independent Holdings (CIH), stated native retail has never been stronger and reported that sales post-Covid on the shopping for group had been considerably forward of the identical interval final 12 months.
CIH is a part of the Euronics shopping for group. Cook revealed that its electrical retail members have skilled robust sales throughout and after lockdown.
Cook stated that in April and May, the shopping for group delivered round 70% of the products it might usually have performed. In March, the freezer shopping for frenzy noticed sales rise by 100%, that means a development of 37% 12 months on 12 months. Moving into June, sales had been up 25% on the identical month in 2019, July was up 69%, August was up 50% – and he predicted that September would even be up by round 50%.
Cook added: “I am fed up with hearing online, online, online and ‘all you little retailers are dead’. That is not the picture that we are seeing at the moment. So I’d just like to say that local retail is not dead, it has never been stronger.”
He added that in lockdown, 90% of his retail members remained open and stored buying and selling behind closed doorways with doorstep deliveries till installations had been later permitted once more.
Amanda Gray, a associate at Euronics retailer Sound & Vision Electronics in Frinton-on-Sea, Essex, stated of their reopening: “We experienced our busiest day’s retail trading in 50 years, which was comforting as we had no idea what to expect. Before we reopened, we managed with telesales and processed Euronics web orders, which allowed us to provide a service for our community, many of whom are elderly and shielding, from behind closed doors. The best part of this awful experience has been welcoming back our customers. Their loyalty and support has demonstrated the need for our services. And we were supported from behind the scenes by our Euronics family – we were all in this together.”
At Williams Electrical in Sheffield, operations director Richard Putland described his retailer’s journey from lockdown to reopening: “We carried on serving our group throughout lockdown by way of on-line and phone sales, with simply two members of workers holding the fort. We had been so lucky to have Euronics backing us up, with inventory availability and common deliveries, plus plenty of assist and recommendation when it got here time to reopen.
‘Since June 15, we have been incredibly busy and are seeing lots of new faces coming into the store. We’ve positively observed a shift in direction of supporting native shops and many prospects have talked about how glad they’re that we’re all the time round to assist.
“Williams Electrical has been a part of this community for 115 years and we couldn’t have done that without the support of our loyal customers, as well as CIH and Euronics. Being a Euronics member gives us the confidence to invest in our business for the future.”
Lucy Schulz, supervisor at Cee-Jay in Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, additionally reported good sales. She stated: “We had the busiest two weeks in a long time. It is fantastic to feel the support of our local community. Euronics has been incredibly supportive.”
Cook outlined the ways in which the shopping for group helped its members by way of this tough interval: “We did a weekly newsletter telling the membership about the current status of the business and working through the government directives and concerns. We supported whoever needed support with guidance on what they were and weren’t allowed to do regarding installations. We supplied PPE packs that contained everything they needed, including sneeze guards and sanitising stations. We held their hands the whole way.”
Cook added: “ We gave advice on furloughing staff, rates and VAT extensions, rebates. And we worked alongside [independent electrical retailers association] Retra to constantly provide them with updates. There still is a lot of unnecessary red tape and confusion. It was a tough time.”
But Cook added that sales would have been even higher if it hadn’t been for provide chain issues. He advised kbbreview: “We would be 100% up on last year if I could get the product. Our members are going crazy at us. If you take dishwashers, there is not a sign of a dishwasher from any supplier. I have been on a couple of shop visits and I have never seen so many holes in displays in my life. It is a real problem getting stock.”
However, Cook is assured in his outlook for the rest of 2020. He predicted: “To be honest, I can’t see any reason at the moment that this [increase in sales] will not carry on until Christmas.”
And lastly, he gave us his tip for what might probably be a scorching new sales class this autumn and winter – area heaters, which retailers might promote not solely to customers but additionally pubs, cafés and eating places. He stated he was already taking a look at doable sources of provide for these merchandise.