Howdens is founded on the principle that it should provide value to all concerned. This principle guides the Board's decision making and defines our strategic objectives because it is an enduring philosophy that has supported the good governance and, in turn, the success of the business over time.

While the Company is clearly accountable to its shareholders, it is our customers, investors, suppliers, staff, and local communities that have contributed to making Howdens the leading supplier of kitchens in the UK. Howdens is a business built on relationships. We do not take these relationships for granted and we ensure that we govern in a way that reinforces them - a strong culture which permeates through all levels of Howdens and which has shaped our business model and strategy is fundamental to supporting this (please see page 12 of the 2017 Annual Report for further information on Culture and Purpose).

The importance of setting the tone from the top cannot be underestimated. The purpose of the Board and our framework of corporate governance is to ensure the interests of stakeholders are safeguarded and the business is run in a fair and effective way. Our approach to compliance is that we should not only adhere to the letter of the UK Corporate Governance Code but the spirit of it too.

The Board must ensure that the culture and values of the business are aligned to its decision making processes. We must both challenge and collaborate with management to ensure their goals and objectives remain aligned with the business's values and culture.

In 2017, the Board approved the continued and steady investment in the capacity and capability of the business to build a strong foundation from which Howdens can continue to grow for the long-term benefit of our stakeholders.

In 2018 we will continue to ensure Howdens is prepared for both the challenges and the opportunities which will arise and that sufficient resource is in place to meet our strategic objectives for sustainable growth.