MHK Group Launches in UK
MHK is delighted to announce its official launch in the UK. As Europe’s leading buying group for independent kitchen, bathroom and bedroom retailers, MHK’s arrival brings with it a successful community that empowers owner-managed retailers with first class purchase prices and innovative services.
Buying groups for kitchen retailers have been operating in Europe since 1980. Indeed, in Europe, 80% of owner managed kitchen retailers are members of a buying group. Till now, there have been no buying groups in the UK for kitchen retailers and suppliers that offer the fully comprehensive package that European members enjoy. This could be a reason why the UK market shows the reverse figures: 80% of retailers are independent and not part of an organised buying group.
MHK Group therefore sees enormous potential in the UK kitchen market, the third largest in Europe, and seeks to offer UK members exactly what it offers in Europe: its outstanding business connections and contracts with the best kitchen suppliers, best purchase prices for its members, first class services in marketing and communication plus a central payment system – the latter of which has never before been offered in the UK by a kitchen buying group.
MHK’s Central Payment System streamlines the payments process for both retail and supplier members, minimising credit risks for suppliers in the process. Lower risk means lower prices for MHK members.
“We are confident no other buying group can offer the purchase price and conditions offered by MHK. Thanks to the collective strength and purchasing power of more than 2700 members our members will have access to the best possible prices,” says MHK-expansion managing director Marcel Crezee. “The first UK kitchen dealers started working with us from 1 January 2018 and our goal is to strengthen the performance of specialist shops and to increase their return on investment.”
In addition to the first-class purchasing conditions, the MHK Group supports its members with an extensive range of services developed over nearly 40 years. These include marketing, digital support (e.g. help with SEO, retailer website development), business management and kitchen specialist planning software from CARAT. These services ensure that owner-managed specialist dealers have a competitive edge in the market and can operate successfully at a sustainable, above-average level. Bryan & Caroline Newton of Hadley Kitchens in Leamington Spa, one of MHK’s first UK members, sum up their reason for signing up: “We joined MHK because of the great support we have received and to give us access to a much broader range of suppliers with great buying terms.”
For Elmore Kitchens in Bath, MHK’s business expertise was key, “We felt MHK understood us and what our business was trying to achieve, and could help us realise that goal,” say Ben and Vicky Elmore.
MHK’s aim is to become the buying group with the best independent kitchen retailers as members – members that fit into its business strategy, that have the same values as MHK Group and the same goals: to offer high quality products and services for their customers.
MHK UK’s Sales Director, Paul Wheeler, comments, “We are delighted to have already had an excellent start in the UK and are very pleased that we have won some of the best kitchen suppliers (including Electrolux, Miele and Warendorf) as industry partners. We already have a significant number of some of the biggest and finest kitchen retailers in the UK as members, and our aim is to significantly increase this figure by the end of next year.”
Alison Mackie, Miele’s Head of Field Sales in the UK, comments on Miele UK’s membership: “MHK is a highly influential organisation for the European kitchen market, especially in Miele’s home country of Germany, and we are delighted to now be working with them in the UK. MHK has a proven business model that offers peace of mind to manufacturers, along with exceptional contacts and expertise.”
Bauformat, part of the Baumann Group, has been a supplier member of MHK in all countries for many years and now also in the UK. Matthias Berens, Managing Director explains the advantages they have gained through the partnership, “We are delighted to work together with the MHK group, one of the leading purchase & marketing organisations in Europe. The advantages they can give to our dealers with in-house credit insurance, planning software assistance and marketing support, are invaluable. The family environment they create is totally in keeping with our Baumann Group motto ‘The Kitchen Family’.” There are however some obstacles to overcome. There is relatively low awareness and understanding of KBB buying groups in the UK and one of MHK’s challenges is to communicate just how beneficial membership is whilst dispelling any misconceptions.
“There is a myth in the UK that becoming a member of a KBB buying group may mean giving up control of your business”, says Paul Wheeler. “This is categorically not the case. Membership of MHK does not mean giving up any business control. Kitchen retailers remain entirely independent to manage their businesses as they wish. There is no tie in. The one-off membership fee is refunded if a member does have a change of heart.”
“There is simply nothing to lose and everything to gain,” continues Mr Wheeler. “Being a member of MHK is ‘win win’ for both us and our members. For us, strengthening our membership base gives us even more buying power to negotiate better deals for our members. For our members, they belong to a community with a proven track record of offering excellent services, the best purchase prices and conditions. We are very excited about entering the UK market and truly believe that we can make a big difference to suppliers who wish to grow their sales and to kitchen retailers who wish to grow their business profitably. We just need the chance to show how this works.”