Saturday, 22 October 2016

Merchants Are They a Thing of the Past

In the last few weeks I have seen lots of mentions about merchants closing down branches, Plumb Center, Plumbase and Travis Perkins Group, are they a thing of the past.

I personally now mostly buy materials online, I can have them delivered direct to site, I can sit at my computer and go through and pick the items I need, choose delivery address and options for early delivery time (at a premium) I make payment job done, I usually do this once at home, compare this to queuing in a merchant, not enough staff, even when you eventually get served its by someone who does not have a clue what you are asking for and has to go to someone else in the merchant to ask and often after a long wait they do not have what you need, many hours a week could be lost in a merchants. The downside to online suppliers is the public can buy the goods at the same price we can, so we have lost the ability to make a profit on materials.

I think merchants starting going downhill a quite few years ago, staff became very poor at their job and were poorly trained, what caused this decline. I think merchants were slow to adapt to a changing world, the likes of Screwfix took the right option, early opening, usually before any merchants, they are open until 8pm, much later than most merchants and you can order online and you get a text when your items are ready, you can simply walk in and collect your goods and just have a PIN verification, some Screwfix branches are now open 24hrs, something merchants seemed reluctant to do, I know some of the online merchants are owned by the big merchants.

but are we going to see the end of local walk in branches and the question is do we think this is a good or a bad thing and would it bother you either way.


  1. Chris, I order a lot of stuff online, but I also use Screwfix and a small independent merchant who has good prices and excellent service. The larger chains of merchants theses days do not offer the service needed. As you say, staffed by numpties and their prices are not competitive.

  2. Yes, some of the independent merchants are very good and competitive, I think the big boys got a little too big for their boots