Independent retailers bestowed prizes on star suppliers – including housewares names – in the latest bira direct awards, presented at the bira High Street Conference yesterday (Wednesday May 11).
Bira direct is a buying service for members of bira (British Independent Retailers Association). All bira members are entitled to use bira direct free of charge as part of their annual membership fee. Bira direct has a range of product suppliers available to members.
A total of four trophies were presented. The award for ‘Best Growth in Cookshop, Housewares, Tabletop & Gift’ was scooped by Meyer Group. Revealing the winner, bira commercial marketing manager, Matt Froome lauded the supplier for delivering close to 60% year-on-year growth. He commented: “This supplier has shown great commitment to bira direct promotion initiatives. Offering a great rebate scheme for members, their field sales team has shown a continuous dedication to engage with bira members.” The finalists in this section included Bodum, RSN UK and Stow Green.
The ‘Best Marketing’ award was won by wholesaler Stax Trade Centres. This award recognises suppliers that have invested in marketing to the independent sector through bira direct channels and have demonstrated “creativity, flair and passion”. Matt Froome commented that Stax “is a supplier which has built upon its success of last year and continued to look for opportunities in the independent market, and put value on the sector and targeted it with an organised and structured approach. “Stax has shown commitment to their audience, refusing to go the easy route, and creating real value by providing genuine offers with real margin opportunities: exactly what the independent retailer looks for when competing with the multiples”.
For ‘Best Growth in Hardware, Garden, DIY & Pet’, SKS beat a strong field to win this award, presented by bira direct director of buying Steve Akers. He said SKS had: seen a 27% increase in sales, while at the same time growing the number of members buying from them by over 30%. The finalists in this section included Chain Products, Newsome Tools and Marshall Brushes & Rollers.
Managing director Jeff Moody then joined Steve Akers in presenting the first of two prizes awarded on the strength of bira member votes alone.
Garnering its second title of the evening, Stax Trade Centres was named ‘Supplier of the Year for Hardware, Garden, DIY and Pet’. The wholesaler was commended by members for “their continued support of the independent retailer and their ease of use through bira direct, as well as their excellent range and availability”. Members also praised their polite service from delivery drivers.
Finally, the title of ‘Supplier of the Year for Cookshop, Housewares, Tabletop & Gift’ was awarded to Horwood. Members had commented that they continue to receive excellent service from this supplier, with many long-standing Horwood employees having built up very good relationships with bira members. Horwood’s products are presented in strong packaging and the range is, members commented, “excellent”.