Direct Company honours top suppliers

A host of housewares, hardware and DIY suppliers were recognised for excellence in business and outstanding service to retailers at yesterday’s Direct Company Suppliers Away Day.

Direct Company honours top suppliers

The event, organised by BHF-BSSA Group and held this year in Daventry, aims to show Direct Company suppliers how to boost sales with the group’s independent retailer members, with the day culminating in the annual Direct Diamond Supplier Awards.

This year, eight accolades were presented, the first being Most Promising Newcomer in Cookshop, Housewares, Tabletop and Gift. Gilberts took the award, with other finalists being Anotech, Creative Party and DRH Collection.

Finalists in the same category in Hardware, DIY, Garden and Pet were Arden Grange, Bulk Hardware, William Granger and Castle Hardware, the latter taking the trophy.

Next up was Best Turnover Growth in Cookshop, Housewares, Tabletop and Gift. Finalists were Bodum, Culpitt, Joseph Joseph and EPE International, the accolade going to EPE.

CPC won Best Turnover Growth in Hardware, DIY, Garden and Pet, other finalists being Carlisle Brass, Dickies and JVL.

Bodum’s name came up again in the Best Marketing in Cookshop, Housewares, Tabletop and Gift category, and this time it took the award. Other finalists here were EPE and Zwilling JA Henckels. And JVL triumphed in the same category in Hardware, DIY, Garden and Pet, beating CPC and LG Harris.

Finally to the Direct Diamond Supplier of the Year awards, which are voted for by retail members. Dexam took the accolade for Cookshop, Housewares, Tabletop and Gift, beating other finalists Horwood, Meyer Group and T&G Woodware, while LG Harris triumphed in Hardware, DIY, Garden and Pet. Other finalists here were Draper Tools, FW Mason and Toolstream.

Amongst speakers during the day, BHF-BSSA Group CEO Alan Hawkins presented a series of figures showing how the group’s retail members’ businesses were going. They show marked regional differences, with stores in Scotland and Wales doing worst, and those in East Anglia and the south west the best.

The figures also show cookshop/housewares retailers and DIY/hardware retailers holding up reasonably well in the last quarter of 2010, as against sectors such as furniture, floorcoverings, tabletop, garden machinery and stationery. The best growth is in pet products.

Overall at the end of last year, 45% of members were doing better and 55% worse.

Hawkins also gave a run-down on activities at the group during the first year since the merger of BHF and BSSA, which included establishing the group’s objectives, assessing resource requirements and working on the business plan. He also confirmed that the group would be changing its name at this year’s AGM but remained tight-lipped on what that would be.

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