Sirius Buying Group has revealed that it has had “another successful year of growth” despite unsettling market conditions.
Speaking to kbbreview after the group’s annual general meeting and trade show in Warwickshire last week, Steve Jones, commercial director at Sirius, said new partnerships with Rangemaster, CDA Amica, RKW and Symphony kitchens helped to boost sales as well as growth in membership and the support given by approved suppliers to their members.
Sirius, which has a network of 163 retailers – mainly independent appliance businesses – has signed 11 new members to date, and hopes to sign at least another four by the end of 2018.
In 2017, Sirius signed 13 new members.
But, the buying group is betting that future growth comes from kitchen studios.
In 2016, Sirius launched the Sirius Kitchen Buying Group to specifically target the kitchen industry, but the venture was dropped shortly after.
Jones said that its partnership with Symphony kitchens, which Sirius signed as an approved supplier last year, put it on a better footing to revisit the industry.
“We soon realised buying groups are not a familiar concept within kitchen studios and we found there was a lot of scepticism,” said Jones.
“Working with Symphony makes a significant difference. We can potentially offer showrooms that already sell the brand better margins and rebates and it increases our credibility generally.
“We will continue to work closely with Symphony, and all our approved suppliers, to get kitchen studios to realise the benefits of being part of a group of like-minded retailers, while retaining their independent status.
“We have always been strong in appliances, and can offer our network extra margins and exclusive offers. We would love to bring this offering to kitchen studios, and are hoping for a snowball effect,” Jones added.
He said Sirius, which also offers Caple kitchens, aimed to get 20 kitchen studios to sign with them by the end of next year, suggesting that the buying group would be open to talking to other kitchen manufacturers if and when the opportunity occurs.
Jones said that Sirius was on track to grow group purchasing by 5% at the end of its financial year in December.
“Whatever sales data you look at, we are bucking the trend in a downward market,” said Jones.
“Our partnership with Rangemaster has started to take effect and we are starting to do some meaningful business with Symphony.
“This year, 14 of our members started to sell kitchens, supported by Symphony, and we have about 10 to 15 more appliance businesses in the pipeline, getting ready to move into kitchen furniture business.”
Over the next 12 months, Sirius will also focus on rolling out its online platform to its network of members to help them boost their digital presence.
Jones describes the platform as a “baseline” web presence that for £150 a month gives members a brand presence, displaying more than 8,000 products from their approved suppliers.