The furniture market is a tough place to be at the moment. Our Sale went well, the store remains busy and people are still buying – but not as much as we thought they would.

We are hoping the soon-to-commence rebuild of our kitchens department will drive sales significantly. The background work – finding out what customers want and what the local competition is up to – has just been completed. I’ve just returned from visiting an Ikea store in Copenhagen that has enjoyed huge success with its kitchens department and I’ve been busy taking lessons from them.

We work in completely different markets, but we work with the same ranges and business model. Ikea kitchens are great value, but an inherent part of that is that customers have to do the planning and installing. In Copenhagen, they look at the whole buying process.

We’ll be building eight or nine new kitchen displays, but we’re also looking at how we can support the customer in the planning process and we will offer much more organised and considered support.

The rebuild is the main focus for the store at the moment. From Maintenance to Interior Design to Sales, every department is involved. It’s important, every now and again, to have a clear focus and a common goal. Customers, too, are always excited and interested to see something new going on in the store.

It’s not the strongest market I’ve seen, but there is money out there. We’ve just got to keep standards up and gain market share – there are ways to do it.