Retail landscape is patchy
Challenges will come from Brexit, price increases and products removed from marketRead More
What has been the industry’s worst kept secret (well, okay, not a secret – it was the legal restriction of Due Diligence), Mark Two has been sold to Ultra Finishing. It undoubtedly signals the continuing challenge for the distribution industry, where profits are being squeezed and turnover eradicated with the loss of big, household kitchen and bathroom retail chains. Mark Two is the latest to suffer the ravages of the retail market but surely it won’t be the last. And it must leave distributors, still standing tall, looking over their shoulders as the industry behind them speculates who will be the next to drop.
But this shouldn’t be a story of woe. It’s actually a positive story of survival. Unlike the unfortunate fallers that include AW Andes and tc bathrooms, the Mark Two business has been saved through acquisition by a long-term supplier. And in doing so, it has protected not only its retail customer network but (just as importantly in these often trying times), safeguarded jobs at the company. And it’s probably down to the positivity of its charismatic and colourful (certainly in language) leader Nick Hopkinson MBE, who openly admits has had a rollercoaster ride for the past 29 years.
The Mark Two business has experienced high highs, but equally the lowest of lows. But through it all, Nick Hopkinson has strode out, embracing the positive aspects, as he says: “Strength is not shown by how hard you hit but how hard the punches are you can take.” And he should know, he’s been involved in several bouts. But perhaps we could all draw from this lesson in positivity and see the best, and make the best, out of all situations. As Dolly Parton says “If you want the rainbow, you’ve gotta put up with rain.”
Rather than complaining, fighting and disliking, which really offers little more than tabloid fodder, perhaps kitchen and bathroom professionals should harness this energy, concentrating efforts on their own businesses. Perhaps industry professionals should focus on embracing, engaging and connecting with customers, attracting trade ‘through the doors’. Instead of moaning about the state of the industry or your business – do something about it. If you don’t like or agree with a situation, then change it. Like Mark Two, let’s make positivity an essential piece of armoury in our survival toolbox.