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Kestrel’s ‘cautious optimism’ as we move out of lockdown

As the country heads out of lockdown, Kestrel sales and marketing director Owen Thorogood feels there are reasons to be optimistic, not least because it means a return to his favourite curry restaurant!

“It’s been an incredibly challenging time for the team and our customers,” Owen said. “But everyone has adapted and if we look at what happened the last time we came out of lockdown, then we can be cautiously optimistic that there will be a bounce back for the industry.

“There are areas of the market that have been particularly badly affected by the pandemic and are now experiencing a significant increase in demand.

“We also know that people have saved money during lockdown and, if last year is repeated, they will be spending this on home renovations.”

The extension to the stamp duty holiday and an, albeit changed, Help to Buy scheme would also help demand, but that added demand comes with its own issues.

“We were all taken by surprise by the strength of demand last year, which was a global issue, that continued right up until Christmas,” Owen said.

“Raw material costs rose far more than expected and the strain on supply is making forecasting more difficult. If you add in the question mark over whether we will face future lockdowns, that does make the market hard to predict.”

Like many organisations, the pandemic has had lasting effects for Kestrel, and not all are bad. Kestrel’s business development team adapted how it supported customers in the pandemic and has seen some benefits.

“We’re in touch with each other and customers through Zoom or Teams and the advantage is that it’s helped us to pack more into the day,” Owen said.

“As lockdown lifts, we’ll keep using online systems to keep in touch as well as getting back on the road for meetings and site visits. We’re all overdue a bit of normality, I personally can’t wait to go out for a curry and am crossing my fingers we can finally get that rescheduled holiday in the sun!”