Essential reading for retailers and suppliers in the home improvement market

Will Jones, chief operating officer at BHETA, approaches the Brexit conundrum, and what happens next

 
 

If you take all the officially published statistics at face value, it’s as ifthe overall economy is standing still, while we all wait for something to happen, whether that’s elections here and across the pond, Brexit, or the weather. 

The inability to plan effectively is a serious concern, and its effects are evident in this prolonged period when suppliers, retailers and consumers are ‘hedging their bets’.  Ironically, the very worst thing we can do is allow this ‘paralysis’ to continue.

On a positive note most BHETA members I talk to – and their trading partners – are doing their level best to ‘get on with it’, regardless of the politics.  By which I mean nurture relationships, take account of trends and seasonal opportunities and back innovations in product, retail method and routes to market. They are also unafraid of making tough decisions in terms of operations, back office, logistics and recruitment.

The probability is we will not know the full impact of Brexit in terms of its effects on labour, costs, tariffs, legislation and so on for several years, so no-one in the garden industry can afford to wait for things to be clearer, notwithstanding the possible changes ahead. It’s also just conceivable that if we do see a clearer picture in 2020, there may be a positive bounce in consumer confidence, and if that is the case, the industry needs to be ready to take advantage.

Meanwhile, BHETA is busy providing all the information it can to members about possible impacts and mitigating actions that could be considered in the meantime. At the most recent BHETA forum, BHETA business service providers set out some clear assessments of likely legislative implications over the next few years, such as currency fluctuations, changes in recruitment and employment law, packaging waste and the impact of counterfeiting.  Several speakers made the point that many of the suggested actions needed to be taken by both suppliers and retailers, regardless of any Brexit outcome.

So, there is plenty to be done. With that in mind, BHETA has also planned a series of supplier/retailer networking events for the first quarter, targeting home, garden and housewares.  January sees a networking forum with TK Maxx, and this will be followed by similar opportunities with online home and garden retailers, home furnishings and home improvement retailer, Leekes. There will also be a ‘Meet The Buyer’ event with Fenwick, whose director of buying for furniture, home and food, Kieran McBride, headlined a BHETA forum in November, outlining among other things the store chain’s garden and outdoor lifestyle offer.

So, one thing is clear – if the politicians are holding their collective breath, suppliers and retailers need to remain focussed and active – both in response to the opportunities and threats, but also to the general need for action, not lethargy.  We need a ‘business as usual’ attitude and the impetus to get on with it. 

View User Profile for Guest blog
Posted by Guest blog | 7 January 2020 | 11:08 | More from: Guest blog 's blog

Comments


(Your email address will not be published)
*

What do you think?


With a mixed bag of reports on consumer confidence due to Covid-19 and figures at odds with actual sales, what are you seeing in terms of customer sentiment?



Latest reader comments

re: A guide to construction safety for home builders

Daniel Wood
Safety should always be the first priority. If followed properly, these precautions are all we need to tackle all unwanted accidents. I ...

re: Further Homebase closures ahead

Shaun Collorick
Cheltenham homebase has closing down signs outside, but not Gloucester homebase.... Yet!...

re: B&Q sales slide, as Screwfix decision to exit German market costs millions

B&Q bob
No surprises from us on the shopfloor management paralysed by fear of jobs and to weak to take chances so bumble around. Ranges boring, and ...

re: Further Homebase closures ahead

Miss l'a tesha gc Wilson
Please keep me updated regards all Store closures Thank you...

re: Graham Bell to head up B&Q as part of Kingfisher reshuffle

Peter Earl
I HOPE GRAHAM BELL THE NEW CEO OF B&Q GETS TO GRIPS OF THE COMPANY VERY SOON.MY WIFE WENT FROM SHADOXHURST TO GILLINGHAM TO GET SOME ...

Most read stories