appliances shelves shop

While many industries have been deeply impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, suppliers of home products, such as appliances and bathrooms, are reporting “decent” results, with demand from both retail customers and contractors keeping the sector afloat through challenging times.

BusinessNow.mt contacted leading home goods suppliers to see whether travel restrictions and COVID-19’s economic impact have led to measurable effects on their sales.

Jeremy Azzopardi, marketing executive at appliance and furniture import and distribution company Oxford House, explains that the last year was not bad when considering the situation, though he underscores that this was only achievable through a lot of hard work.

“We kept our momentum, let’s put it like that,” he says. “I can’t say that we did very well, but we didn’t do badly either.”

While most demand arrived from new buildings coming on the market, the aftersales department was busier than usual, with many deciding to repair their current appliances over purchasing new ones.

“The pandemic left an impact on many people’s pockets, so many opted to repair their existing washing machine, for example, as it would cost less than buying a new one.”

Meanwhile, Forestals, a supplier of domestic appliances and tech equipment, reported varying impacts on different departments.

“The impact of the pandemic on industry differed greatly,” explains CEO Luke Tabone, “so there was a negative effect on spend for some people, while others had more disposable income as their pay remained the same while opportunities to spend it declined.”

“What we noticed,” he says, “is that certain departments saw an increase in sales while others declined.”

He points to high levels of sales of products like barbecues, even as customers held back from investing in luxuries like 85-inch televisions or built-in coffee makers.

Sanitary fixture suppliers Bathroom Design and Pitrè meanwhile report decent, but not remarkable results.

“Obviously, the pandemic has left a mark on overall trade, but luckily we did fairly well,” says Bathroom Design representative Ray Pace, noting that the construction boom and the number of new buildings needing to be outfitted proved a boon to the sector.

Pitrè director Mireille Pitrè agrees, saying, “We can’t complain. We never stopped working.”

She explains that demand was high from both contractors and retail customers.

“Travel restrictions have played a big role,” she explains. “Since people couldn’t travel, they spent money doing up the house.”

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