Euronics chairman urges brands to support independents

The chairman of CIH/Euronics has called for suppliers to support independent retailers and criticised those brands that have turned their backs on the buying group.

Speaking at this year’s CIH Suppliers’ Lunch at The Dorchester hotel in London, Robin Millwood (pictured) said: “It’s imperative that suppliers get in front of our members to present and sell to them – those that are keen to do this are the suppliers that are growing with us. It does disappoint me that some others have already said to me that they do not have the budget and are looking to withdraw their support, which I believe is a very backwards step – especially as some of those suppliers are either stagnating or going backwards in turnover.”

He added: “I realise that these are tough times, but you have to speculate to accumulate – please remember that the grass-roots members do actually account for a collective, multimillion [pound] turnover and offer nationwide showrooms, brilliant delivery and after-sales. So, please, do not forget the independent.”

Commenting on the state of the market, Mr Millwood said: “2017 has turned out to be a very strange year. As I stood here a year ago, we had already seen some price rises following Brexit, with a strict warning of more to follow during the year. This has turned out to be true but, to the detriment of our industry, there appears to have been very little follow-through at the retail end.

“With a market that has been falling all year, many retailers are selling cheaper now than last year, but this has not stemmed the fall. In some areas, the market is down 13 to 15 per cent, but with an average fall of approximately eight to nine per cent, I am glad to report that CIH/Euronics is holding its own and is ahead of the game.

“Hopefully in 2018, with more price rises to come, assuming retail prices increase, we will all be in a better position, but pressure needs to be put on the retail sector to reflect this and maybe we will all make a bit more margin to reinvest into our shops and future.”

Mr Millwood said that, as part of a multimillion-pound investment, CIH/Euronics opened a new distribution hub in Preston, Lancashire, in April. This serves all Euronics members north of Birmingham, has enabled the buying group to offer three deliveries a week to most of its members across the UK and has made the warehouses more efficient.

Mr Millwood also announced that CIH/Euronics was seven months into its SAP/ website upgrade and reimplementation. He said the buying group would move over to a new SAP [Systems, Applications and Products] platform for its B2B and B2C websites in June 2018. It will also launch a new Euronics International logo next year and upgrade its store fascias.

Mr Millwood revealed that CIH/Euronics would hold a trade show for its members in September 2018 – more details will be announced early next year.

Also at the CIH Suppliers’ Lunch, the buying group gave out two awards.

The Supporter of the Independent award went to Sony, while Dyson picked up the trophy for Euronics Supplier of the Year.