Suppliers should look after retailer margins

Martin Voisey says margins and service matter more than ever in a competitive market

17 Sep, 18

UK head for Jaquar Group Martin Voisey says margins and service matter more than ever in a competitive market.

UK retailers are presently under tremendous pressure. Stores have been closing at a higher rate than during the recession, as a result of factors including rising internet sales and increases in business rates.

Independent bathroom retailers have been affected by these pressures as much as anyone else, and this means the need to focus upon gross margins and high-quality service is now more important than ever before.

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Having worked in the UK bathroom industry for 25 years, with five of those as a retailer myself, I firmly believe that margin and service are the two most important factors in bathroom retail. Get these right, and your business should not only survive but thrive.

Achieving these can be a challenge, however, as many suppliers are not interested in the margins their dealers are making, but rather the volume of their products they are selling.

Protecting profits

Jaquar UK takes a different approach and puts the dealers’ needs first and foremost. We are proud to provide proactive support to independent bathroom retailers at a time when national chains are getting more powerful.

Our view is that it’s all about the independents, and we do this in a number of ways. The key to our approach is looking after retailers’ margins.

We first want to understand what a dealer’s target gross margins are, and work out a package for them to deliver at least that, every time and with every product in our portfolio.

Because they are buying direct from the manufacturer, rather than a distributor or products sourcing company, we can easily achieve this.

We also work hard to ensure our dealers keep that margin and give them protection from their competitors by ensuring there are no other dealers supplying Jaquar in their area.

Dealing direct

Jaquar has not increased its prices since 2016, and it is just about to get better for our dealers.

The recent expansion of Jaquar’s main brassware factory means production will increase from 80,000 to 150,000 pieces per day, making Jaquar the biggest manufacturer of taps and showers in the world.

We intend to pass savings made in this area, due to our economies of scale, back to the dealer. We also have a global strategy of dealing direct with stores to give them the best possible service.

This means dealers can then provide their customers with a high quality of service, making sure they get delivery on time and can change anything quickly and easily.

Most suppliers have been keeping a lot less stock since the recession, which keeps their accountants happy – but not necessarily their customers, with out of stocks becoming a regular occurrence.

However, at Jaquar we have at least 12 months’ worth of stock in our UK warehouse and, if necessary, we can source specific products from our own warehouses across Europe, or air freight direct from factories.

We also understand consumers do change their mind sometimes, so as long as a dealer’s client is swapping Jaquar products for another Jaquar product and the item has not been fitted, we will exchange it with no restocking charges.

Seeking dealers

Jaquar Group, which originated in 1960, is now one of the fastest-growing bathroom brands in the world. Over 1.9 million bathrooms a year are delivered by Jaquar Group, and the company produces 24 million bathroom fittings annually.

The company has a presence in over 50 countries across Europe, the Middle East, Asia-Pacific, and Africa, and is currently expanding its UK presence.

We recently appointed a number of UK dealers, including Jaquar World Partners at Junction 2 Interiors in Birmingham; Al-Murad in Salford; and Windsor Bathrooms in Bradford.

We are still looking for agents and partners in other areas of the UK – notably the North East and South West of England, and in Scotland – and would be pleased to talk to dealers in areas of the country where we are not represented.

Jaquar recently introduced luxury brand, Artize.

Margins matter

Pictured: UK head for Jaquar Group Martin Voisey