An important date was mentioned by Mr Herbert right at the start of the event: on 15 April the BHB and its two partner associations in France and England are inviting participants to Berlin for the inaugural meeting of a European DIY trade association. After speaking approvingly of the commitment of the three associations, Gilles Cailles of Unibal, the French manufacturers’ association, spontaneously promised Unibal’s support for the initiative.
An insight into the Japanese DIY market was given by Kentaro Kishimoto, president of Uniliving Co. Ltd. The market share of the DIY retail sector expanded from 39 per cent in 1997 to 43 per cent in the year 2000. However, Kishimoto explained that the Japanese market has a structure of its own, making it a challenge for foreign companies. The product ranges in DIY stores, for example, are targeted predominantly at professionals. This sales market is very difficult for smaller manufacturers to make any inroad into, though big industrial concerns like Bosch have better prospects in competition with local suppliers.
Following the description of the DIY market in Japan, the other countries represented provided statements about the economic situation in their homeland. The profit situation is advantageous in Austria, since traders there have access to an additional and reliable sales market in eastern Europe. The DIY retail groups in France are also happy with their 4.5 per cent rate of growth.
The USA went along with the preceding optimistic forecasts: the sale and construction of homes is proving hopeful, so that the industry expects sales growth of 2.5 to 3 per cent. Holland is at present experiencing a market adjustment, with more and more small DIY outlets being taken over by big chains. A completely different structure exists in the Italian DIY landscape, where many small companies struggle against a few big ones for their customers. This struggle is principally articulated through pricing. Growth of two to three per cent is expected here.
China turns out to be an attractive goal for international investors. Two European DIY multiples, OBI and B&Q, have made their market entry here. At this point Manfred Maus, president of the BHB board, stressed once again the…