KBBG optimistic despite challenges

Part of European buying group Der Kreis, the KBBG held its eighth Annual Members Meeting at The Manufacturing Technology Centre in Coventry on June 13.

15 Jun, 22

Part of European buying group Der Kreis, the KBBG held its eighth Annual Members Meeting at The Manufacturing Technology Centre in Coventry on June 13.

KBBG optimistic despite challenges

Managing director of KBBG addresses attendees


Reflecting the growth of its membership across the country, the meeting was held for the first time in The Midlands to attract attendees from all areas of the UK.

Speaking at the start of the event, managing director of the KBBG Bill Miller addressed some of the challenges still faced by the kitchen industry.

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These included supply chain issues, price inflation and the reduction of consumers’ disposable income.

He commented: “I said at the last annual Members Meeting, eight months’ ago, the kitchen and bathroom industry was facing some of its biggest challenges.

“To be truthful, I had hoped eight months’ on, some of those challenges would have been resolved.

“But I think it’s fairly obvious, a lot of the challenges have not been resolved but in some ways the list has grown longer.”

He added: “Out of challenges come new opportunities.”

Miller reported suppliers and retailers had seen an “amazing” amount of business over the last two years but said attendees have to consider what will come next after the boom period.

He stated GDP figures were slowing, putting a brake on the market, and consumer confidence was tracking at record lows, which would impact retailers working in the bottom end of the market.

However, retailers working in the mid-to-top end of the market have clients who would be reasonably insulated from these challenges, Miller said.

He stated: “I think the market will slow. It was inevitable it would slow. It isn’t sustainable at the record level we’ve seen. But I think it will slow to pre-COVID levels for independents.”

The Members Meeting featured presentations from founder of SBID Vanessa Brady OBE, sales director of AB Distributors Michael Boland and technical lead construction at MTC Steve Nesbitt.

They covered topics including the role of design in a retail business, appliance innovation, as well as journey to Net Zero and what will be the implications for retailers working in newbuild and refurbishment projects.

In addition. Graham Wilson of Lead Wolf revealed the KBBG’s consumer-facing website My Kitchen Specialist, designed to help consumers throughout the kitchen buying process and promote its retail members.

New for this year’s conference were four workshops, held in break out rooms, and led by industry experts, as well as an exhibition area featuring Blossom Avenue, Blanco, Multipanel and event sponsor De Dietrich.

In the worktop sessions, managing director of Searle and Taylor Darren Taylor spoke about putting the client first and foremost and Steve Nesbitt at MTC discussed What part KBB retailers will need to play in modular construction.

Simon Acres of Simon Acres Group talked about KBB Services and Graham Wilson of Lead Wolf spoke on the topic of KBB digital marketing platform

Der Kreis International saw 10.8% growth of sales from €4.73bn to €4.73bn, operates in 11 countries, and has 3,498 members in 2021.

In the UK, KBBG sales grew 78% in 2021, with 41 members joining the association in 2021 and 31 joining in the last six month. It’s turnover has grown 51.8% in 2022.

Miller reported its turnover was driven by acquisition of new members, more turnover from existing members and the introduction of new suppliers.

He concluded his presentation stating UK furniture and component manufacturer BA and CAD provider ArtiCAD had both recently joined the buying group.