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Kohler CEO Points to ‘Slew of Positive Industry Trends’

HACKETTSTOWN, NJ — The kitchen and bath industry is being impacted by a “slew of positive trends” that bode well for the industry’s continued recovery from the impact of COVID-19, according to the president and CEO of Kohler Co.

In the National Kitchen & Bath Association’s annual “State of the Industry” address, David Kohler pointed to a positive jobs-recovery trajectory, the current work-from-home surge and record-low mortgage rates as among the leading factors expected to fuel industry growth.

Kohler’s address was presented online in conjunction with KBIS Virtual 2021, the digital event that supplanted the annual live Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS), canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re emerging from a year that will have a profound and lasting impact on our lives, our businesses and our culture, (but) overall, our industry has been blessed relative to other industry sectors, like travel, hospitality and restaurants,” Kohler said. “Our industry not only rebounded, but we have a slew of positive trends that position our industry well for the future.”

Unlike the Great Recession of 2009, housing and home improvement are leading the economy out of recession, Kohler said, cautioning, however, that lingering obstacles to more robust growth include a low inventory of single-family homes for sale, a lull in multifamily construction, soaring lumber prices and a shortage of both buildable lots and skilled labor.

However, Kohler observed, “we’re definitely seeing more tailwinds than headwinds.”

Kitchens and baths, Kohler said, “continue to rank as more important than other areas of the home, and the pandemic has only reinforced that perception.

“The disruptions wrought by the pandemic have accelerated underlying trends,” he noted. “But even prior to those disruptions, the home was becoming increasingly central to people’s daily lives. The increased time at home has led many people to take on a range of home improvement projects to better align their surroundings with their personalities and their lifestyles.”

“Consumers are re-evaluating how they live and prioritizing their needs inside the home,” Kohler commented. “As we look into 2021, we see that the home has become more important than ever.”

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