A major online retailer has labelled kitchen distributors who sell products directly to the consumer as “unethical and immoral”.
Richard Broadbent, CEO of leading internet company Sinks-taps.com, said that while he accepts that “business is business” some distributors were now “crossing the line to a point where the practice has become unacceptable”.
“If, as a retailer, I’ve been spending millions of pounds with a distributor for years and years and then at some point he decides to bypass me and go direct to the consumer that’s got to be wrong,” Broadbent continued. “It’s unethical and immoral.
“I’ve helped to put him a position where he’s able to do that but then suddenly overnight he’s dropped me because he wants to have his cake and eat it. I think you’re either one thing or the other generally.”
Broadbent’s comments come in the wake of a growing debate over the changing face of distribution, sparked by the downfall of distribution operation tc Bathrooms which was widely accused of turning itself from a customer into a competitor by opening its own chain of retail outlets.
“In most cases the distributors who’ve sold directly have done it undercover, secretly, hoping nobody will find out,” Broadbent continued. “Well that tells you the story. They know it’s wrong but potentially, because they’ve struggled, they’ve seen an avenue where they can buy at distribution rates but then sell direct to the consumer so the margin they’re able to generate is considerably more.”
Kitchens Kitchens Jeff Russell on Richard Broadbent ‘s comments
This practice isn’t unique to Broadbent’s key sector of Sinks and Taps but is evidenced throughout the KBB sector and for obvious reasons,it infuriates many retailers.
However, playing Devil’s Advocate here, whilst Richard Broadbent CEO of leading internet company Sinks-taps.com, may feel aggrieved, what about those retailers with showroom space (not online space) given up for one brand or another, many likely KBB independents whom have bought kitchen displays, or display products, (and not got them for free) only to have that brand sell direct to the consumer?
Whilst we at Kitchens Kitchens have heard rumours of UK kitchen brands, and even zee Germans doing it (either directly) or indirectly via the supporting of some retailers more than others, be it in terms of investment, share ownership or cheaper and/or free displays, we wouldn’t wish to comment on rumours but facts.
If you have any ‘facts’ by all means use the comments section below.