Jaroslaw Dobrogoszcz, PSB for PMR: Mrowka closes gaps on DIY market

Wpis dostępny jest także w języku: polski

PSB Mrowka is one of the fastest-growing DIY chains in Poland. Its store count increased by nearly 40% between 2016 and 2020. Even the coronavirus pandemic has not stopped its rapid rise. Speaking to a webinar held by PMR, Jaroslaw Dobrogoszcz, director of retail at Mrowka’s parent, PSB, admitted, however, that the virus’ resurgence is a worry, and that it is hard to be optimistic about the months ahead.

Dynamic growth in the Covid-19 era

A few weeks ago PSB Mrowka announced that its sales revenues had risen by an impressive 17% in the first seven months of 2020. – We already have data for the first nine months. We kept up the growth pace, both in terms of sales revenues and new stores – Mr Dobrogoszcz revealed during the PMR webinar.

As he explained, the spring lockdown had virtually no negative impact on PSB Mrowka. Since its stores average 1,300 m2, they stayed open even during weekends, when DIY stores bigger than 2,000 m2 had to close. The restrictions on stores in shopping malls did not apply to Mrowka, either. And the chain benefitted from the rise in home improvements that the lockdown brought about. – Stuck at home, people took to renovating and redecorating their living spaces. They tended to their gardens, too. We grew on the back of that – Mr Dobrogoszcz said.

Pandemic will leave no one untouched

October was not as good for PSB Mrowka, however. – The full numbers are not in yet, but we will not repeat the results from previous months – Mr Dobrogoszcz told the PMR webinar. He admitted that the intensity of the virus’ resurgence, and the reimposition of restrictions, had him worried about the months ahead.

– In the short-term we win, because the bigger the number of people who have to stay at home due to restrictions, the more will decide to make home improvements. In the long-term, however, the pandemic will hurt everyone. Financial worries will cause consumers to reduce their spending – he explained.

Mrowka will complete ongoing capital projects and deliver on its minimum expansion target for 2020. However, several store openings have had to be pushed back until 2021, mostly ones whose construction had not yet begun when the pandemic struck in March.

Large DIY chains will always leave niches

So what can we expect in the next few months? According to PSB’s retail chief, one thing that we will see for sure is a further increase in online shopping.  – In DIY retail, I believe that the winners will be those who are best able to connect the online and offline worlds for the consumer, to design a successful omnichannel strategy.

Further consolidation is inevitable, too. Large chains will continue to gain market share. On the other hand, many stores that have failed to adapt to stay competitive will disappear. If, as seems possible, more stringent curbs are imposed on retail trade, it could precipitate the collapse of many independent players, who have fewer resources to tide them over such hard times than large chains.

There will always remain niches, though, that large chains won’t be interested in. Places that, from their point of view, aren’t viable enough to bother with. For various reasons, on the revenue side as well as on the cost side. It is Mrowka’s strategy to expand into such gaps. Communes and districts are our focus – Mr Dobrogoszcz concluded.

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