Massive concerns over Ideal Standard selling direct

17 Sep, 15

Interiors Collection will now be sold direct, as well as through distribution

Directors of Ideal Bathrooms have spoken out about their “massive concerns” following Ideal Standard deciding to sell its Interiors collection direct.

On top of selling through a distribution network, which also includes Cooper Callas and Robert Lee, Ideal Standard will now be selling the four suites in its Interiors Collection direct to retailers.

Managing director of Ideal Bathrooms John Bagshaw exclaimed for his business: “It is a massive concern.” And his view was echoed by commercial director Danielle Lillis, who added: “When you look at it, commercially, it’s a relatively small amount of our business. But it’s really [about] the negative impact it has on the accounts we are generating, that our sales team have been supporting and the businesses we have been servicing. We have put the displays in and suddenly its enhanced terms to trade direct.”

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Lillis continued, explaining the advantage of buying though distribution, commenting: “The beauty of Ideal Bathrooms is our service – 80% of our received orders are despatched within next-day delivery. That’s what our customers want. It’s an extended lead time. So really you would think the business model that we operate in, people will still hopefully want those products within that short lead time and obviously they won’t be able to service that direct. But if there is a substantial advantage, which there evidently is, more people will get smarter in enabling them to benefit from that terms advantage.” 

She added: “We don’t understand the strategy, certainly when we are driving good growth for Ideal Standard and our performance on the Interiors Collection, in particular, is extremely strong. I understand they have their own commercial reasons; they obviously want to grow Interiors collection and maybe see that they can’t facilitate that fully through distribution but we don’t really understand the reasons why.”

John Bagshaw retorted: “There’s no tangible benefit.”

When suggested it may be for retailers who preferred the cache of dealing direct, John Bagshaw contested: “They say some people won’t deal with distribution. Well, they will. You’ve got to get your product, haven’t you?”

Head of marketing at Ideal Standard Anna Burns said over a period of a couple of years, retailers had been asking the company to sell direct.

She continued, stating Ideal Standard was not the only bathroom manufacturer that sold both through distribution and direct and reported it would only affect 200 accounts. Anna Burns also confirmed there were no plans for any other Ideal Standard brands to be sold direct

She continued saying Ideal Standard was in discussions with retailers about a minimum order value, declaring the direct sales were never about selling single products.

However, Burns refused to be drawn into a conversation about a price differential for retailers between buying through distribution and buying direct.