Published on 14 - April - 2010
Wolseley to double number of kitchen showroomsBuild and Plumb Center parent plans to double number of kitchen studio showrooms it will open across the UK.
Wolseley has already opened five studios, including Bodmin, Portleven, Swindon, Leicester and Wetherby. The builders merchant chain will also open a further two showrooms this week - in Eastbourne and Crawley - with five more planned over the next few weeks.
Most of the showroom displays are being established in existing Build Centers although some, like the branch in Eastbourne, will be stand-alone studios. All showrooms will feature a dedicated sales consultant, who will be able to offer advice on planning with computer-aided design, buying and fitting a kitchen. While trade customers are able to shop the new studios, the new format appears to be geared more towards the end user, suggesting Wolseley is trying to tap into the growing kitchen and bathroom showroom market.
Last week Wickes confirmed to DIY Week that it is currently trialling smaller format kitchen and bathroom stores in the UK. The Travis Perkins-owned retail chain reported a 27.7% like-for-like increase in kitchen and bathroom sales for the year to December 13, 2009, boosted largely by the demise of MFI.
B&Q UK and Ireland also posted a 7% sales increase in kitchen and bathroom, which the DIY giant attributed to greater investment in new ranges and showroom revamps, as well as competitor withdrawal form the market.
Wolseley sales manager Brian East said of the move: "Setting up showrooms with dedicated consultants has proved amazingly successful. While we initially planned just five or six, demand means we're now looking at double that figure."
He added: "Timing has undoubtedly played a role with more people eating at home and looking to improve rather than move home during the current economic situation but a lot of it is down to how we've re-packaged our kitchen offering by creating in-store showrooms so people can touch and see what's on offer."
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