Ian PRATT, who was the Sales & Marketing Manager of SCP UK since its establishment in 1999 following the buyback of NORCAL and SWIMMING POOL WAREHOUSE companies, has been officially nominated the Regional Manager of SCP UK by Sylvia MONFORT.

From now on he has been handed over the task of continuing the development of the British subsidiary and setting up strong partnerships with its supplier-partners as was the case during the National SHOW SCP UK that took place from 18 to 20 January.

Ian can rely on his two Branch Managers, Jackie CEESAY of Gatwick branch (Head Office) and Mark DELLER of the Basildon branch in Essex as well as on the experience and advices of David MATHERS, advisor of the UK Board, to carry out his task in the best possible manner.

We took the opportunity of being at the National Showcase for SCP Pool UK at Gatwick to ask Ian Pratt and Sylvia Monfort a few questions.

Loïc BIAGINI / EuroSpaPoolNews : « What is your vision for the future of the pool market? »

Ian PRATT / SCP UK : « For the future, 2010 is going to be a difficult year for the industry. The economic climate is not finished yet, so it will be tough. Having said that, SCP is in a strong position, we have developed strong programs and continue the strength we have with spas. We are looking to the future to develop in ground pool programs and boost our sales on this kind of product. We’ve got a good infrastructure now with the people that we have, solid foundations, and it’s time for SCP in the UK to really grow, take market shares. »

Loïc BIAGINI / EuroSpaPoolNews : « What does this new opportunity to manage SCP mean to you? Is it an achievement? »

Ian PRATT / SCP UK : « I think my 30 years experience in the industry brings a new dimension to the business, to go forward with. My job now is to bring the corp business and corp practices to the UK and use the global strength that we have within the systems that we use, whether it be in the marketing, in the purchasing, to combine all the things and integrate more the UK into SCP Europe as well and give me the ability to pull everything together and to move the business forward in the way that Pool Corp want me to move forward in the future. »

Loïc BIAGINI / EuroSpaPoolNews : « What are your future ambitions and the next steps for SCP? »

Ian PRATT / SCP UK : « What we need to do related to sales, domestic sales in the UK or export opportunities, that is the way we have got to develop: we have got the right products, we have got the right context and, to me, internally we have got the right people to do that. That’s what we are going to build and move forward with. »

Loïc BIAGINI / EuroSpaPoolNews : « Is the market only the UK? »

Ian PRATT / SCP UK : « All the UK, Scotland, Wales, jersey, Guernsey… »

Loïc BIAGINI / EuroSpaPoolNews : « How many percents? »

Ian PRATT / SCP UK : « It is hard to say, about 70% for England. I would like to say that UK swimming pool professionals should come and see what SCP can offer them in 2010 and beyond. We have got very good market material, very good products and we now look forward to working with Jean-Louis much closer on the sales side, developing programs to make the deal more profitable and make more money through what we can bring them. I incite everybody to look at what SCP is doing, we are very young in spas and so everybody can come and have a look at what SCP can offer them. »

A few days later, Sylvia Monfort gave this overview of the restructuring of SCP in Europe.

Sylvia MONFORT / SCP Europe : « As you know from various interviews that you have held with Dave COOK, Ian PRATT and Jean-Louis ALBOUY, we are in the process of fully restructuring our European organisation, so that we can focus on the coming years with colleagues who are even more ready for the development of our sales and market share in Europe. That's why we are extremely happy to have Jean-Louis ALBOUY joining our European organisation, who will support me in finding Sales and Operational Marketing solutions.

This should enable me to be a bit less involved on an operational level, and should free up my time so that I can again work on finding opportunities for our external development and our growth within new markets. Of course as always I am relying on our suppliers and strategic partners who already have a presence on these markets: we are in constant contact with them to identify potential target companies that are looking for prospective buyers, or that would be interested in forging a partnership with the SCP Group.

In these difficult financial times we need to pay attention to our partnerships and make the right choices in order to secure our future. Jean-Louis will therefore free up my time by taking charge of coordinating and optimising our sales organisations in Europe, while I will be refocusing on external market development at the same time as continuing to oversee the management of all of our European subsidiaries. »

Loïc BIAGINI / EuroSpaPoolNews : « Why did Dave Cook, the European Vice-Chairman for the Pool Corp Group attend this British show? »

Sylvia MONFORT / SCP Europe : « England has had some difficult years, not only because of the very severe financial crisis that it has suffered over the last few years, but also because SCP England needed to be restructured, revitalized and redeployed across the country. It is true to say that our 'England show' demonstrates the new methods that we'd like to implement in the country.

One of Ian PRATT's major objectives is to do so with a more direct and hands-on approach and through our partners as we do elsewhere in Europe. The fact that
Dave COOK was at the show highlights the importance of our redeployment in England, as well as our strategy to regain the market share in the country which was historically a bastion of growth for Pool Corp Europe. »