In what has turned out to be a feast and famine year for hot tub retailers, the winter months could mean make or break for some outlets. With 2020 travel and holiday plans cancelled due to the global pandemic, everyone and their wife, wanted to spend that summer money by investing in their own a hot tub and be able to holiday at home. Conversely, the knock-on effect of Covid-19 was that, not only could wholesalers not cope with the unprecedented demand, spa manufacturers and component suppliers were, at the same time, having to reduce production to protect employees.
When spa containers finally returned to the water it was to fulfil existing orders and with new customers, on specific models, having to wait until summer 2021 to receive their longed- for spa. “This year is one we will never forget and has produced many challenges for us all,” sums up Gareth Ward, Sales Director at Superior Spas. “On the whole I think that retailers have coped well particularly as they are liaising with the customers and communicating the increased lead times we have had particularly due to supply chain issues.”
“RETAILERS ARE HAVING TO DIVERSIFY TO STAY ALIVE WITH PRO-ACTIVE ONES SELLING OTHER ITEMS WHETHER IT BE COVANA, ACCESSORIES, RENTAL OR EVEN TAKING ON MORE SERVICEWORK” – Richard Hart, Aqua Warehouse Group
Richard Hart of the Aqua Warehouse group confirms: “Spa stocks are a nightmare this year. We currently have a 12 month backlog which is tricky to explain to a customer but bizarrely some are willing to wait. “Retailers are having to diversify to stay alive with pro-active ones selling other items whether it be Covana, Accessories, rental or even taking on more service work. “All our dealers are coping well and although unhappy with the situation understand that the industry is lucky to be buoyant when other trades like travel and hospitality are really struggling.
We are very lucky” Wayne Green of Sunbeach Spas agrees: “Wait time on our brands is about three months at the moment but we a brand new factory will be up and running around mid December.” Wayne confirms Sunbeach will run both factories to help speed up the deliveries into 2021 and beyond. “It has been hard for the retailers because in the past hot tubs have been readily available and no-one had to plan months in advance,” says Wayne. “Stock is arriving in to the UK at about 150 spa per month but 98% of this stock is sold before it lands in the UK,” Wayne confirms.
“STOCK IS ARRIVING IN TO THE UK AT ABOUT 150 SPA PER MONTH BUT 98% OF THIS STOCK IS SOLD BEFORE IT LANDS IN THE UK” – Wayne Green, Sunbeach Spas
To help with stock issues Superior Spas have invested in new manufacturing routes both in the Far East and Europe. Gareth reveals: “We are putting together a production forecast for each manufacturer in 2021 to see if we can achieve the high number of orders we are expecting. “This will enable us to plan for next season particularly in terms of components needed. “Retailers don’t know how long this will go on for, what stock to order and not knowing whether to upscale their business in terms of staffing levels and vehicles to cope with the demand.”