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The demise of Moben

Chris Turnbull

The demise of Moben

The demise of Moben: good or bad for independent kitchen retailers?

It may seem odd for the owner of a small, fast-growing independent fitted kitchen retailer to be weighing up the question of whether today’s announcement of Homeform and, in particular, its Moben retail brand going into administration is good for business.  On the face of it you’d think that we at Nicholas Hythe Kitchen Design Studio would be happy about it with our doors flung wide open to welcome their disaffected customers and pick up the sales volume.  But I’m not sure we are!

Why?  Because kitchen retailers like Moben continued to invest in marketing themselves with budgets that we’d be happy having as a sales figure!  But that activity from Moben and the other big retailers has helped to maintain consumer awareness and interest in the sector which specialist kitchen retailers like us piggy-backed with our own local activity.  Indeed, in a curious twist of fate, the announcement broke at exactly the same time as we were handing two winning children their brand new Nintendo DSi’s for winning our recent colouring competition!

Our other concern would be the impact of such a high profile competitor might have on consumer confidence in the sector.  After all, if one of the biggest names can go into administration what must it mean to the smaller guys.

Inevitably since the economic downturn started in 2008, many retailers operating in the ‘big ticket’ sector of the retail market have undoubtedly struggled to persuade consumers to spend what cash they’ve got.  Thankfully for us as a start-up back in late 2009 we saw this as an opportunity rather than a threat!   The combination of low interest rates on people’s savings, low variable mortgage rates (meaning those who’ve retained their jobs and are on tracker mortgages had more money to invest) and a static housing market has meant we’ve seen many more customers looking to undertake significant home improvement projects which we’ve been able to tap into with a quality products properly installed, fair prices and an ethos never to over-pressure a customer into buying until their ready to make their decision.

So whilst a part of me says that one less competitor is good for us we now have to face these additional challenges.  But, we’re confident in our business model and continue to look for a second site for our business and do what we do best – sell great kitchens to our customers.

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