Published on 17 - September - 2009
Irish merchants set up €300m buying groupTwo Irish merchant and diy groups, Associated Hardware and National Hardware, are merging their buying operations to create a single buying group on behalf of 150 independent members in total.
The partners describe the launch of United Hardware as "one of the most significant developments in the independent trade in recent years", allowing both parties to achieve significant buying synergies, ensure better relationships with suppliers and negotiate better prices. United Hardware will have buying power in the region of €300m.
"This joint venture is an excellent strategic fit," said Associated Hardware chairman Conor Whelan. "There are obvious opportunities for benefits of scale, for enhancing our respective product ranges and for providing better service to our customers. This joint venture will create an Irish builders merchants and diy buying group of sufficient scale to ensure that we have the ability to compete against major Irish and international operators in the difficult Irish market."
Each partner will continue to support its own brand: Associated Hardware's Homevalue and National Hardware's Arro. The two groups' 600-plus suppliers will benefit from more efficient access to the enlarged customer base, according to United.
"We do not have the scale of the Grafton Group, Wolseley and B&Q in Ireland," said Mark Delaney, ceo of Associated Hardware and joint ceo of United Hardware. "But by combining our buying and sourcing functions, we have ensured our ability to compete against these much larger rivals in very difficult conditions." The builders merchants and home improvement market in Ireland is currently worth an estimated €3.5 billion.
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