Bathroom supplier blames Brexit for damaged businesses in the UK

With the October 31st Brexit deadline looming fast, Director of Sanctuary Bathrooms, James Roberts, commented on how the uncertainty and planning has affected the business and the wider industry as a whole:
Consumer confidence is playing a significant part in trading at the moment and we are seeing the uncertainty surrounding Brexit have a huge hit on the industry.
Customers are telling us they are trying to get work done ahead of the deadline and there is a real urgency to buy items that can be delivered quickly. We are also seeing spending habits change as people are unwilling to order big or more expensive items, as people look to save money where they can.
This is a similar recurrence to the first quarter of the year when trading was slow going, in what is usually the busiest periods for the industry post-Christmas and ahead of the house-selling season. The removal of uncertainty by having a delay has seen the opposite for the quieter summer period, as people have ditched overseas holidays in favour of UK breaks and taken the opportunity to invest in their home.
We are also seeing confidence hitting our suppliers, who are now holding stock back or slowing manufacturing as they are fearful of having too much left on the shelves if there is a recession. There is a positive in that some reputable British brands who manufacture in Britain are looking to fulfil orders faster and have used this as an opportunity to grow.
While we have tried to prepare the best we can, it is difficult to cover all bases when we don’t know what’s going to happen. Information from the government has not been clear and the indecisiveness across Parliament is hitting industries such as our own. We want to do the best by our customers and ensure things keep running as smoothly as possible and provide the assurances they need. This is made difficult when you don’t know whether you’re going to leave with no deal or a deal, or not leave at all.
Like other businesses, we have done the best we can to make sure we are prepared but we cannot keep delaying any longer. Whether it’s leaving or remaining, the sooner the better for the industry, ideally by the 31st October if we can. There is a real fear of another recession if we delay it any longer.
Builders Merchants’ sales fall
Meanwhile, Brexit is also being blamed for a fall in sales from Builders Merchants’.
After a strong start to the year, growing uncertainty around Brexit led to a marked slowdown in merchants’ sales in Q2. As the deadline looms closer it’s clear that the uncertainty continues to impact negatively on merchants’ sales.
Total Builders Merchants’ sales in August 2019 were down 5.6% compared with the same period in 2018. On a like-for-like basis, with one less trading day, average sales a day were only 1.1% down. The best performing sector in August was Kitchens & Bathrooms, which increased by 3.0% year-on-year, on an adjusted basis.
Source: GfK Builders’ Merchant Point of Sale Tracking Data July 2014 – August 2019.

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