Spring forward

22 Mar, 18

Editor Philippa Turrell says there was shoots of optimism at kbbBirmingham, despite the weather

Spring forward So hands up, who actually thought kbb Birmingham would judder to a halt, as the UK started to resemble a frozen Tundra? It can’t be just me…But the weather that had frozen much of the UK didn’t deter the organiser of the UK’s largest show for the bathroom and kitchen exhibition. Nor did it dissuade suppliers, during build up, in scenes that must have been akin to David Attenborough’s Icy Planet. And following what must have been a collective deep breath, once the show doors were open, it hadn’t prevented the majority of visitors from attending the exhibition either.

Kbb Birmingham is always a barometer for the UK bathroom and kitchen retail industry, and this year was no exception. Although there was snow still on the ground in the West Midlands, there seemed to be a collective mood of optimism, of the first shoots of Spring it could be said. Manufacturers and retailers had seemingly rallied and thronged to extol confidence in the UK marketplace. Although there was some talk of Brexit, and mention of a challenging UK market, there were no dark and prolonged discussions. Instead the show was positive, had a genuine buzz with exhibitors claiming it to be a success, and for some the best show yet. High praise indeed for a show that has been in existence for 32 years!

There was talk of opportunities, with retailers benefitting from consumers who are beginning to take a greater interest in quality of manufacture. ‘Premiumtisation’, I heard it called. And if it’s not a word, it should be. There were enhanced exclusivity or opportunities for bespoke products for dealers from smaller, more flexible manufacturers. And there was the bold and dynamic face of retail design, with Augmented and 4D Virtual Reality environments for consumers to experience a project before purchase, as well as offering dealers a showroom experience.

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With each step around the halls, there were reminders that despite the economic climate, consumers will always need tp buy kitchens and bathrooms. So let’s all take a positive spring forward…