Levantina offers budget prices with ‘builders collection’
At the start of this year Tom Parker took over as manager of Levantina’s operation in the UK, with its warehouses in Rotherham in the north of England and Basingstoke in the south.
Tom joins Levantina from Howden Joinery, which had sales of £1.2billion in 2015. He says he was appointed because, coming from a different side of the industry, he could introduce a new perspective and he understood profit and loss accounts. “I’m introducing new ways of doing things,” he told Natural Stone Specialist.
One of Levantina’s initiatives is a ‘builders collection’ of granites from its own quarries – Malmo, Silvester, Microdiamond and Saphire (although there is talk of them being given new names for the Builders Collection). Tom says they are being sold at “very, very good prices”. The aim is to expand the middle market for stone, where it has lost ground since 2008/’09. He says: “Stone does well in the top 5% but we’re trying to open up that middle ground. We’re setting up options and choices.”
With prices at around the £40/m2 mark, Tom reports the move is proving popular.
Levantina is one of the largest stone companies in the world, with quarries and depots in many countries. It is based in Spain, where it is a major producer of Crema Marfil. Like other stone producers, it is seeking to brand its natural products to try to distinguish them from the stone of other producers. The name it has come up for its Crema Marfil is Crema Marfil Coto (El Coto being the quarry its stone comes from). It has registered the name as a trade mark. It also has Naturamia, which is a collection of natural stone products treated to make them more resilient as worksurfaces.
And Levantina has its own versions of engineered stone, including the 3mm thick ceramic Techlam that it manufactures and is available in 3m x 1m sheets.
Its engineered quartz is Quartzia, the prices of which have now also been reduced.
Tom Parker says his first three months at Levantina are a blur, there was so much to learn and take in. “I don’t think anything has hit me as much in my life as coming here,” he says. “I wasn’t aware how many different products there are, especially for the kitchen. How do we get people to see all those products?”
One way he has done it is to increase the ‘walk and pick’ areas in the depots to try to make more of the material visible to customers. He also wants to get more slabs into kitchen showrooms.