Mikhel Ruia, Managing Director of Glenmuir, explains how COVID has effected their business, but also how they are helping their retailers come through the other side.
How has the Lockdown impacted Glenmuir, Sunderland of Scotland and MacWet?
The impact COVID has had on Glenmuir has been unprecedented in our 130 years of existence. We started to see the impact on our golf resort customers in March when golf tourist numbers started to decline when the outbreak started and global and internal travel effectively shut down. Year to date our sales are down around 30% across all of our 30 geographic markets whilst our ecommerce is just about holding up.
How have your staff members managed?
As an independent family business employing 97 staff in Lanark in the heart of Scotland, our people are our biggest asset. Due to the dramatic drop in turnover we had to furlough around 90 of our staff whilst we prepared the factory to be COVID safe following all government guidelines. With the reopening of golf we now are delighted to have around 30 staff back in full time and have all of the social distancing, temperature camera checks and one way systems now in place. Our business in Australia was never really impacted, and Austria and Germany rebounded very quickly. We very much hope to have all of our staff back off furlough in a few weeks time as our golf retail customers start to open up.
How have you been helping retailers during this difficult time?
One of Glenmuir’s core values is responsibility, and now more than ever we have a responsibility to support our customers however we can. We used technology to create a Lockdown Vendor platform which has helped alleviate some pressure on a record number of our customers. The innovative platform, which is the first of its kind in the golf industry, allows golf professionals and retailers to set up an online ordering facility to list their current stock holding in less than 5 minutes (see www.glenmuir.com/lockdown).
What role has social media played during the Lockdown period?
We have used social media during the Lockdown to engage and connect with our communities whether that be our customers, team members, partners and even competitors, as after all we are all in this together. Our #PeopleOfGlenmuir series on Instagram, which received record engagement, followed the journey of our team members reminiscing at home about being back on the golf course and in the factory and subsequently documents their return to golf. We also successfully launched a 3 part short film series with popular YouTube vlogger The Average Golfer filmed at Archerfield, Formby and Conwy which captured the spirit of golf and why we all come together for the love of the game.
How do you see the rest of 2020 going for golf retail?
With the return of golfers on the course and live TV golf due back in some form or the other, we are finding there has been a bit of a spike of renewed interest in golf given the nature of golf being naturally social distanced, outdoor and non-contact. This is quite a powerful opportunity in a world where social distancing will be the new normal. Our ecommerce sales have picked up and we believe golf retailers will start to see demand pick up once retail starts to open thanks to pent up demand with consumers not spending on event or fashion clothing. We believe that with our superior products, highly experienced sales teams and our unique stock and embroidery service, we can help our golf retail customers navigate through these challenging times.