Welcome to 2022 kbb retailers

Editor Philippa Turrell welcomes in 2022 and considers what the next 12 months may hold for kitchen and bathroom retail.

22 Jan, 22

Editor Philippa Turrell welcomes in 2022 and considers what the next 12 months may hold for kitchen and bathroom retailers.

Kbb retail is resilient

As we slowly being to emerge from the pandemic, hopeful we will consign lockdowns and restrictions to history, few would have forecast its impact on kitchen and bathroom retail.

Even as little as 12 months’ ago, when the UK was in its third lockdown, accomplished kbb retailers voiced concerns over the prospect of losing sales to online, the pipeline of future sales orders when showrooms were closed, and the start of stock shortages.

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Who would have dared to forecast that 2021 would actually be one of the most lucrative times for many independent kitchen and bathroom retailers?

In fact, Bill Miller, managing director of the KBBG, recently reported most of its retail members had an excellent year, with high levels of enquiries and orders.

Looking forward then, there is UK trade show kbb Birmingham which will bring the industry together and is long awaited.

Showcasing the latest trends and innovations for showrooms and their customers, the event will allow retailers to see and touch product, network and do business in person.

And there remains plenty of business with still no sign of an imminent slowdown as consumers, unable to renovate due to building material shortages of last year, have rolled their project forward.

Of course, this high level of demand continues to bring its own challenges with longer lead times, pressure on cash flow and all-in-one orders replaced by partial just in time deliveries.

But retailers have coped – grappling with the flurry of sales – seeking designers and installers to fulfil projects.

It has even seen some employ their own fitting teams, to reduce reliance on the availability of sub-contract joiners and plumbers.

And kitchen and bathroom retailers may have to show their agility again, as the second half of 2022 could paint a very different picture.

Industry experts predict a softening in sales with escalating costs and disposable household income stretched to include holidays.

Will it be a relief for sales to slow to pre-COVID trading, as balance is restored to the bathroom or kitchen industry?

Or having now geared up for larger volumes of business, will kbb retailers now have to consider how they can attract and maintain the same level of orders?

If the last two years has taught us anything, while the patterns of business have changed, kbb retailers will adapt to the market.

Accomplished retailers will seek ever more creative solutions to reach their goals and will already be making them happen.