A group of independent flooring distributors, floorwise is in a unique position and closely connected to independent fitters and retailers.
Richard Bailey, managing director, floorwise, gives his insight into the year so far and the group’s hopes for what’s ahead:
With yesterday’s announcement of a second national lockdown for England and with strict measures right across the UK meaning many flooring retailers have to close again, we want to assure those businesses able to remain active that floorwise distributors will continue to service them with the products they need.
2020 has certainly been a unique year for obvious reasons and the pandemic has changed the landscape of our industry. The national lockdown throughout April and May obliterated most sales, although the efforts of our distributors to continue to serve essential industries provided some customers with the accessories needed to complete their vital work.
However, since the country began to reopen in June, we’ve experienced huge demand. Across both residential and commercial markets, it has been nothing short of exceptional. Early on we considered our strong sales as a result of pent-up demand because of lockdown, but we continue to see strong growth. In fact, despite two months of lost sales, our revenue is up on 2019 and things don’t seem to be slowing down.
Some of this additional work is led by continued increased consumer expenditure on homes. With many homeowners initially taking a mortgage break or forgoing foreign holidays, there’s been increased spending on home improvements and we’re certainly benefitting from this as whole industry. You only have to look at the trading reports of major home, interiors and flooring retailers to see they are weathering relatively well.
That said, we are yet to see the full impact of covid-19 in terms of employment. As the furlough scheme ends, we are likely to see a spike in unemployment and how this might affect spending in the next few months within the sector is hard to predict. It is the long-term economic impact that we must also consider. At some point we will need to begin paying back the cost of measures, certainly through increased taxes and with subdued GDP preventing wage growth this will materialise as increased pressure on monthly pay packets.
Most experts foresee the start of these measures as being a couple of years off, so we’re cautiously optimistic about 2021. It is almost definitely set to be another roller coaster year, but we hope that through continued collective effort we will be able to restore some normality, even if this is a ‘new normal’. Until then, we will struggle to predict or plan for anything other than contingency. The key is to remain flexible and highly reactive to the market and fortunately floorwise is well placed to respond quickly.
For further information on these and other great flooring products contact Floorwise on 01509 673974, visit www.floorwise.co.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org