KBBG sales and membership grow despite Covid challenges

The Kitchen Bathroom Buying Group (KBBG) has reported a 9.1% increase in turnover for 2020 compared with 2019, with 57 new members in 2020 and 26 so far this year.

The results were announced at its biggest ever annual general meeting at the Williams F1 Conference Centre. The AGM was attended by members and suppliers and the KBBG team.

Turnover for January to June 2021 was 81% up on the same period in 2020. Comparing Covid years to non-Covid years, 2021 saw 62% growth compared with the same period in 2019.

KBBG managing director Bill Miller said: “I am very proud to say that despite the challenges of last year – the lockdowns and the stop-starts – we still managed to add nearly 60 new members to the group. Turnover, if you compare 2020 to 2019, is up just over 9%. So far, we have had 26 new members this year, and I think there is a good chance we will do 50 new members this year.”

The parent company, Der Kreis, now operates in eight European countries, with the latest being Italy. The total group turnover increased by 12% from €3.8 billion to €4.27bn  (£3.6bn).

Several new members have joined the KBBG in the past 18 months, including Swift Electrical, the distributor of appliances and sinks and taps. Miller sees Swift as helping to fill a few gaps in the KBBG offering, most notably from BSH, which is not a KBBG member.

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Miller added: “Largely what drives a new supplier is feedback from members. The advisory board is important in terms of feedback, and then we speak to the members and get feedback. BSH are massive in the industry, and the majority of our retailers sell Neff, Bosch or Siemens. We don’t have an agreement with them, but we needed to look at other options and Swift fits the bill for that.”

At the end of 2020, the KBBG launched its advisory board. It is a group of its members that feeds back to the buying group with ideas on how it can grow in the future. Miller believes that it helps increase the connection between the buying group and its members.

Looking to the future, Miller announced during the AGM that the KBBG is looking to expanding its bathroom offering with new suppliers in the coming months. The group will be attending kbb Birmingham 2022 in March and is already planning its biggest stand ever.

It will also soon launch a consumer-facing website, My Kitchen Specialist, which it says will help drive leads to KBBG members and promote buying from independents.

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