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Editor’s comment: Don’t Stop Believin’

It is hard to believe that almost two years ago the pandemic struck, when we all sat round to watch the Prime Minister’s address telling us to stay at home. There’s no doubt it’s been an incredibly difficult couple of years for most people. Yet in a strange kind of way, the electrical retail sector seems to have fared quite well – despite the obvious restrictions and setbacks.

The majority of retailers and manufacturers I have spoken to have reported strong sales and impressive growth – which has been great to hear! Who’d have thought that such a challenging time would also prove to be so fruitful when so reliant on consumer spending.

One such company that’s seen a record year in business is audio equipment distributor, Henley Audio. I recently went to the company’s HQ in Oxfordshire to meet with Sales Director, Nick Fuller, and Operations Director, Simon Powell, to conduct this month’s ERT Interview.

We spoke about the growth they have seen online since 2020 and Simon even alluded that without this, things would look quite different for the company now. There was a monumental shift in consumer shopping behaviour during the first lockdown and Henley made the right moves to keep up with demand.

With Henley’s Nick Fuller (middle) and Simon Powell (right) on my recent visit to their HQ near Oxford

Click here to read the interview

Having said that, Nick and Simon have always believed in ‘bricks not clicks’ and retailers taking their customers on that upgrade journey in store. And of course, when retail stores reopened it allowed Henley’s 400+ dealers to conduct these all-important face-to-face sales once again.

“I’m pleased to say that we haven’t lost a single retailer to COVID,” said Simon. “They have all adjusted and hats off to them for running their businesses so well through these times.”

This was refreshing to hear, and such a welcome distraction from the usual doom and gloom retail headlines we all-too-often read. Not only this, but it was great to hear that this British business is emerging from the pandemic largely unscathed, riding high and ready for bigger and better things in 2022 and beyond.

Talking of, this year is the 25th anniversary of Henley Audio, so I also chatted with Nick and Simon about their highlights from over the years. Nick, who is one of the Founders of the company, said they’d certainly come a long way from the origins of Ortofon UK, when all they had was one filing cabinet of stock – not because they weren’t successful, but because their hi-fi cartridges and accessories only took up so much space!

Now, Henley is the exclusive UK distributor for a growing list of high-end audio brands. Reflecting back, Nick told me: “The best thing is going from our little cupboard to a multi-million-pound company with our 20,000sq ft facility. We have grown so much over the years.”

Henley is a perfect example of how the consumer electronics sector is booming right now as people continue to kit out their homes. And long may it continue! But whatever happens in the year ahead, Don’t Stop Believin’… It’ll be one hell of a journey!

Jack Cheeseman – Editor –

View the February edition of ERT here