Lakes Comment: Q2 2019

Mike Tattam, Sales & Marketing Director Lakes is BMBI’s Expert for Shower Enclosures & Showering.

Three years of negative headlines with politicians changing position and pretending they haven’t, has taken its toll on public trust. It’s making people ask if they should buy products such as bathrooms and showering spaces now or wait until the fog clears and there’s less to worry about.

According to Edelman’s 2019 Trust Barometer, 59% of people are tired of hearing about Brexit, but 51% say uncertainty about the UK’s trading relationship with the EU and rest of the world is their biggest concern, up from 39% in 2018. But who can you trust to level with you? Fifty eight percent say none of our political leaders are honest with the public, and 61% say their views are not represented in the media. People trust academics, technical experts and people like themselves the most, and Government and the media the least. No wonder we’re confused and uncertain.

Politicians and the press are in a panic over what will happen in November. They may be right, but cry wolf too often and people will ignore them.

Consumers are concerned about the wider economy, but while real incomes are rising, they’re much happier with their own finances and prospects. However, they’re holding back on big ticket sales like cars, bathrooms and showering products. Lakes, our own brand, is doing better than the market but we estimate that shower enclosures and associated products are down around 9% in the first six months. Unlike boilers, showers are not distress purchases, they’re planned in advance and can be delayed.

Brexit concerns are also weighing on the pound with suppliers absorbing increased costs, but now that’s not sustainable in the long term particularly if sterling falls further.

The public recognises Brexit as businesses’ biggest challenge, but 49% of consumers see online shopping leading to the decline in the high street as the second biggest. Helping stockists respond to it is the next challenge. Stockists want support from their suppliers who need to give a clear indication of their strategy and trading route so customers can make decisions on their own future requirements.

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Launched in 2015, the award winning monthly Builders Merchant Building Index (BMBI) report is the only reliable measure of repair, maintenance & improvement (RMI) activity in the UK. Filling an important gap, it can be widely used in construction, and by economists, Government, national media, commentators and influencers outside the industry.

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