Each Friday, Furniture News puts five questions to a selected industry professional to explore their background and approach to business. Today, it's the turn of Lee Bagnall, MD, Ekornes Ltd …
How did you get into the trade?
I was born into the furniture industry – my father had a large furniture store in the 1970s.
What was the turning point in your career?
I owe a lot to B&Q, and really enjoyed my time there. They invest heavily in their team, and that investment really helped me develop on a professional level.
How will the industry evolve?
The independent sector will shrink in numbers – however, the ones left will be stronger. The consumer will be more reliant on the web for research and inspiration, so naturally this will play an even bigger part in the future. Having a great store is essential too, but is only one part of the overall offer.
How can retailers increase sales and profitability?
Product mix and thinking longer-term is key. Heavy discounting is very compelling, but damaging in the long-term. Additional sales and higher margin products such as care kits can really help, as long as they add value to the consumer as part of the longer-term view of your customer loyalty.
What brings a smile to your face in this industry?
I’ve been working for Ekornes for five months now, and one thing really stands out and makes me smile – our consumers! Those I’ve spoken to are our fiercest advocates, and are, as such, our brand ambassadors. It’s such a pleasure to talk to people who believe as strongly in the brand and product as I do.
This is an extract from an article published previously in Furniture News magazine. For more stories like this, you can subscribe to receive a regular physical copy of the magazine, or sign up to have a free digital issue delivered to your inbox each month.