The British Independent Retailers Association (bira) says 2014 was ‘nothing short of a sensation’ for bira direct and the independent retailers it supplied with products during the year.
Bira direct is the central buying and invoicing service exclusive to all bira members. The Association said that with a record trading year, the service ‘achieved a challenging sales target, despite a difficult trading year in key market sectors such as cookware and housewares. Sales showed significant increases in 10 out of 12 trading months with the majority of suppliers enjoying growth over 2014.’
Bira direct, which recently celebrated its 50th anniversary, has a supplier portfolio of almost 200 suppliers giving retailers access to 2,000 brand names. It provides a product buying service with exclusive benefits, all of which are accessible to group members as part of their annual membership at no extra cost. The group says it is equally geared to satisfying the buying requirements of a single store as well as a chain of independents.
Paul Woolley, managing director of bira direct, said: “It’s great to show real growth year-on-year but to achieve this with so many suppliers, proves we are doing business in the right way for our members. Rather than going for short term gain with a few key suppliers, we have structured our business to grow all sectors for our members, which means ensuring we offer a broad spectrum of suppliers and brands to protect our members from sudden market changes and offer them growth through stability and well planned ranging.”
Steve Akers, director of buying for bira direct, added: “It’s been a great year for bira direct and we have many new suppliers wanting to join the ranks of partners supplying us. We know we can offer the best route to market. And the fact that we guarantee payment to all our suppliers ensures their continued commitment to serving the independent retailer.”