KBzine: the original kitchen and bathroom industry e-news - since 2002
23rd February 2018
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I can remember my mother being quite put out a few years back when I refused to shop at the new Homebase superstore that had ousted the local independent garden centre, so you can perhaps imagine that she would have become quite cross with me when the new Sainsbury's superstore opened up on the outskirts of town and I refused to take her there too. I said she'd rue the day she supported such outlets; that they would put the smaller independents out of business, subsequently take away our choice and make life difficult for those that had to rely on public transport.
Before long our town centre Sainsbury's closed down (it had probably been planned that way from the beginning despite assurances that it would remain open) and we had to get used to the superstore as it was the only proper store within easy driving distance. Then someone decided it was too small, it was almost doubled in size and try as she might my mother can't shop there as she can't stay on her feet for the three-plus hours it takes to get around and locate what she needs. Most other shoppers look thoroughly tired and miserable too, they can be quite grumpy and the place certainly seems a lot emptier than it used to be.
And if I want to buy a nail or cuphook of a particular size I can no longer visit the local hardware shop as it's not there anymore; I have to go to Homebase and buy a packet - most of the contents of which will be wasted. But at least I have a car and can get there; many others don't and the buses don't stop nearby either.
Talk to the independent kitchen, bathroom and bedroom retailers and they'll tell you business is suffering because consumers feel more comfortable visiting the big DIY stores to choose their new wares and that one of the reasons for this is that they feel they'll need to spend less. That's not always the case though, is it? But how do we let them know that?
Two companies I've spoken with this week are tackling the problem head on with a view to enticing consumers back into the smaller, independent shops. You can read all about their initiatives - one aimed at the bathroom market and the other at kitchens, below.
Another - independent retailer Heart of the Home - is taking its business to the consumers in the form of a small lorry kitted out with some fabulous cabinetry, which I've seen at my local market a couple of times on a Saturday... I'll be talking to the company soon to see whether this exercise is proving worthwhile.
I don't know who said, "Use them or lose them" but I couldn't agree more...
17th May 2013