Stand under my umbrella

Popstar Rihanna may well have prophesied the evolution of the kitchen and bathroom industry

15 Oct, 18

Popstar Rihanna may well have prophesied the evolution of the kitchen and bathroom industry when, in 2007, she endorsed sharing the space under her “umberella-ella-ella.” Who knew 11 years later the kbb business would follow suit.

Although, rather than commending the use of a portable waterproof shelter, the umbrellas being touted for the bathroom and kitchen industry are buying groups.

Stand under my umbrella

Having been established for some time in the merchant and electrical sector, buying groups are now growing in prominence in the kitchen and bathroom retail channel.

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These now number the Der Kries-owned Kitchen and Bathroom Buying Group (KBBG), the recently-formed MHK group, as well as Independent Plumbing Group (IPG) and Sirius.

It seems they all recognise the strength in numbers, with Sirius offering kitchen furniture, as well as its array of appliance brands, to attract kitchen studios alongside electrical retailers.

While on the other hand, the KBBG, with its core membership rooted in the independent kitchen retail sector, is now targeting Euronics members with its kitchen furniture offer.

Of course, recognising there is strength in numbers is nothing new for independent specialists, as retail association the Kbsa would testify.

But, while it has publicly struggled over past years to garner increasing support, buying groups have now grown in number.

And it’s easy to see why: buying groups are an attractive proposition, as they offer tangible bottom-line benefits. They allow independent businesses to leverage better terms through collective purchasing power.

The popularity of buying groups could also be indicative of darker times ahead, of concerned retailers preparing for uncertain trading conditions.

Surely having a membership to a group, which could ultimately save expenditure, must be a survival aid for those struggling with spiralling costs and squeezed profit margins?

Certainly, buying groups are only at the very start of their journey into the bathroom and kitchen retail market and it will be interesting to see how they progress.

Will we see more groups enter the kbb sector, and if so, which will survive?

But standing under an umbrella doesn’t seem like such a daft idea – eh, eh, eh, eh?

Check out Philippa’s previous first word: Whether the storm?