Nolte expands UK stores with acquisition of The Kitchen Group

German kitchen manufacturer Nolte Küchen has acquired The Kitchen Group Retail Company Ltd’s six showrooms for an undisclosed sum.

The deal was done on December 20 last year and sees the German manufacturer add the six Leicht Kitchen Design Centre stores owned by Liam Hopper (pictured) to its UK showroom portfolio, which already includes the six In-toto stores it acquired in March last year. That makes a total of 12 showrooms.

The studios in question are located in Sevenoaks, Battersea, Hampstead, Tunbridge Wells, Milton Keynes and Nottingham. The stores will be completely refurbished and supported by a nationwide marketing campaign.

Nolte said that the acquisition is part of its long-term strategy to focus on building and strengthening a comprehensive dealer network in the UK.

By adding new partners to its distribution network and incorporating franchise businesses within its structure, Nolte said it will use its large portfolio of stores to increase brand awareness and help it gain importance and authority in the contract and project sectors.

Nolte UK country manager Chris Rushby said: “The Kitchen Group is well known for premium kitchens Made in Germany and has a strong retail and project presence. Moving forward, the sole brand focus will be on Nolte and enhancing both retail and project activities by providing excellent services to end customers, architects and developers alike.”

Speaking of the acquisition, The Kitchen Group owner and MD Liam Hopper said: “Nolte are trying to grow into the UK market quite heavily. They have lots of aspirations. They acquired In-toto last year and now they have acquired The Kitchen Group to parachute them up to 12 stores very quickly. KI had already been sold so there was no one else with that many stores to acquire and parachute them to where they need to be.”

Said Hopper: “Nolte have the passion, product and willingness to drive this company to the next level and chapter in its expansion. They are fully equipped with the skills it takes to grow a strong and stable company, which is vital for any succession. I’m truly thrilled to hand this company over to such a well-known and respected international brand with strong leadership, and look forward to driving this company forward with new visions’’

Rushby added: “The next step will be to establish The Kitchen Group stores in further locations for even better access to the Nolte brand. With a portfolio that spans not only kitchens, but also living and work spaces, utility rooms and bathrooms, the stores will be the ideal place to go for contractors too. We look forward to new partnerships in this sector and bringing Nolte designs to households across the UK.

In a separate exclusive interview with kbbreview, Hopper added: “Probably within the next six to nine months, all of the Leicht Kitchen Design Centre stores will be rebranded as Nolte Kitchen Design Centre, and of course they will be selling Nolte kitchen instead of Leicht. For the time being, however, the stores are continuing to sell Leicht.”

He added: “But to control multiples doesn’t happen overnight. You need infrastructure, people and the know-how and so they bought not just the stores, but also me to help put it together. We sell German products. We are specialists in German products.”

Asked about his immediate future plans, Hopper added: “Officially there is no set date for me to leave, it is fairly loose. But it won’t be this year. The kitchen game was my dad’s game, it was never my game. I have been building my company up for the past two years through acquisition, not because I fancied having more stores, but for the sole purpose of being acquired.

“Nolte came along and put their cards on the table. I am 35 with a young family and I decided, you know what, not many people get into the industry, build multiple showrooms and exit with money. There’s nothing wrong with that. When a business gets to a certain size, that is time for someone to step down and a new corporation to take over and grow it bigger. A successful, bigger company with the cash and resources to take it to the next level, such as Nolte with its €650m to €700m market capitalisation.”

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