Our purpose as a business is to help trade customers achieve exceptional results for their customers, and to profit from doing so. We believe the best way to source and install a kitchen is to work with a local tradesperson, and we are clear that the future success of our business lies in serving the trade market to the highest standards.
Our depots build strong local relationships with their customers and have the autonomy and trade quality in-stock products to provide a high level of service. Depots are located where our customers need them, with a typical Howdens depot being in an edge-of-town location - this is more convenient for our customers and cheaper for us to rent. In 2020 around 85% of our UK customers lived within 5 miles of a Howdens depot.
Our decentralised business model empowers local depot managers to build trusted trade-only relationships and we help our trade customers succeed in selling to their customers in the following ways:
One of our strategic objectives is to increase trade convenience and grow our market share by reaching more builders. To achieve this, we will continue to open more UK depots close to our customers. We know that adding a new depot near to an existing one sees overall sales increase and we continue to see scope for 850 depots in the UK. In addition, we will open more depots in France, at the right pace and in the right places.In 2020 we opened 16 new depots in the UK. In 2021 we are targeting around 35 UK depot openings, including some more in Northern Ireland.
We opened 4 depots in France in the second half of 2020, ending the year with a total of 30 across France and Belgium.We have seen that consumer spend in the French market has been switching into home improvement, as in the UK, and the market is starting to shift from DIY to ‘Do It For Me’ – just as it was in the UK when Howdens first started. Consumers want everything quickly, and we’re the only one who offers our range of quality and product from stock.