Merchant News
Spring into summer sales
24th May 2019

Spring into summer sales

Spring into summer sales

Treated Timber you can Trust

The Timber Trade Federation and the Wood Protection Association (WPA) are joining forces in a strategic partnership agreement aimed at strengthening the UK market for treated wood. 

Following the survey conducted by both organisations, three key issues were identified for further work: 

  • tackling buyers’ knowledge to enable correct specification and ordering
  • improving user awareness of how to use and install pre-treated wood
  • building confidence in the marketplace on the quality of timber treatment

TTF members will be able to access WPA specialist services such as regulatory affairs, an important area as the country navigates through the Brexit process, also technical support and access to the WPA Benchmark quality assurance scheme at privileged partner rates. 

The agreement has significant potential to improve merchants’ knowledge  and will be backed by a Treated Timber you can Trust campaign. 

Summer in the Citi with Marley

Urban environments are often problematic for wheelchair users, the elderly and the youngest members of society, with uneven pavements and hard and sometimes slippery surfaces. 

Marley addressed this challenge some years ago, and its CitiDeck product is now widely used  where a kinder decked surface is required. Laura Qualters, National Technical Manager at Marley reveals: 

“Slip resistance is an important quality in any decking system but even more so in urban installations, schools, care homes and the like.  Marley developed CitiDeck for the London 2012 Olympics to provide a wheelchair-friendly, accessible yet effective anti-slip decking.  The difference between CitiDeck and standard anti-slip decking is the type of insert.  CitiDeck has a kinder, less abrasive surface, yet still comes with a 30-year service life.  We also grade the timber we use for the CitiDeck boards to C16, providing a strong combination. 

“Merchants should ask their customers not simply where the decking will be used but also who will be using it,” Laura Qualters advises.  CitiDeck is used, for example, in nursery schools, so it’s suitable for any commercial or domestic decking installation.  The best way to start looking into the sales potential of slip-resistant decking is to ask us for samples via the Marley website.”

Building new opportunities

With the growing number of people working from home, or desiring extra space, is it worth opening the door to garden building sales?

Garden buildings are definitely worthwhile as a category,” says Gavin Knowles, Marketing Manager at Howarth Timber & Building Supplies“We’ve recently launched our  garden & landscaping brochure for the summer featuring the garden buildings which our category team have selected for us. 

“We held a category day for branch sales staff before we launched the summer promotion to outline the market, the range, and the opportunities.  We then invited suppliers in to talk about their products and the specific opportunities they offer,” Howarth’s Gavin Knowles continues.

Decking beyond softwood

Many merchants are also entering the wood composite decking market, but is that the only option?

Despite all the talk of composites, there will always be a market for hardwood decking, as there are customers out there who still prefer the natural look and feel of wood,” Gavin Knowles affirms.

Sleepers awake with sales potential

Oak sleepers are an increasingly popular alternative to softwood for landscaping.  John Dowd, Specialised Product Category Director at International Timber explains what consumers look for and how best to sell these garden fashion accessories:

“The average consumer wants to buy a fresh-looking, clean piece of timber with no enormous splits, cracks or shakes.  Oak sleepers need no additional treatment as its natural durability makes is suitable for landscaping and water-side applications.

“To help our merchant customers we have instituted our own grading system for European Oak sleepers, using the definitions ‘Standard’ and ‘Superior’.  We are backing this up with a documented list of factors in each grade, so that buyers know what to expect.  Oak sleepers are graded for aesthetics, not for strength in, for example, holding back soil. 

“By having a defined grade standard, we are able to help upskill our merchant customer staff so they better understand the product they are selling.  Oak sleepers are not simply suitable for landscaping.  We’re also encouraging merchants to approach sales of Oak sleepers more creatively.  Sleepers can also be cut up to make benches, bollards and other types of street furniture, for example, giving the merchant new options for marketing the products.”