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GfK data shows big ticket room-specific sales under pressure

The early part of the year and in particular January, is especially important for sales in the Bathroom and Showers category as consumers look to start a fresh in the new year and take advantage of the seasonal promotions on offer. Understandably as pressure mounts on household budgets the inclination and financial capability of undertaking a major project such as fitting a new Bathroom is affected. Thus, we have seen a sizeable decline in both volume and value sales within the Total Bathroom/Shower category in January-February 2012 vs. the same two months of 2011 with a substantial part of that decline coming from sales of complete Bathroom Suites and Furniture. (Source GfK TSR Total Market).

How does this compare with other room specific/big ticket categories? Well, Kitchen sales have been slightly better and Beds and Bedroom Furniture slightly worse across the first two months of the year.

Within Bathroom, sales of Showers have performed better, though still negative with a -7% decline in volume sales (GfK Showers Panelmarket excl. Garden Centre/Ironmongers) over this time period. Value sales have declined slightly more at -15%, which is a reflection of the promotional activity and reduced average pricing at this time but the longer term picture shows more stability with volume and value sales only down 1% in the year ending (Y/E) February 2012 vs. Y/E February 2011.

What we have seen is a continuation of increasing share for the Mixer Valve type of shower vs. the Instant Electric and the importance of key price points is clear to see in the sales trends in the beginning of this year. In fact the average price decline on a Mixer Valve shower vs. an Instant Electric was more than twice as much in percentage terms in the first two months of 2012 vs. 2011 and is perhaps an indication consumers have been trading down within the Mixer Valve market.

Source : Simon Foy - GfK

29 March 2012
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Thank you for the excellent presentation that you gave at Woodbury Park on Thursday morning. It was very interesting and thought-provoking for our Retail members. The feedback has been excellent.

Martin Elliott. Chief Executive - Home Hardware.

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