“Customers want better products”

Paul Candon, CEO of the Irish cooperative United Hardware, reports of a "big uplift" caused by Covid-19 in the Global DIY-Network of the DIY associations Edra/Ghin and Hima. Edra general secretary John Herbert had invited him to his 13th interview in the "Meet the CEO" series. "Our stores saw a big Covid bounce," is how he described the result of the stores being classified as essential retail. Thus, sales rose by 36 per cent in the year 2020. "2021 has also continued to be very strong," he said and reported growths of around 29 per cent in the year to date. Candon also spoke of difficulties with the supply chain and price increases of currently 14 per cent for building materials. Also, against the backdrop of huge increases in logistics costs, the company intends to purchase more in Europe in future instead of the Far East. Products that have been produced in Ireland are becoming more popular too. In addition there is, in Candon's words, a trend among private customers towards high-quality brand-name products. "DIY general people are upgrading the kind of products they are purchasing," he said. "What they want, that's better products," he said.