The figures illustrate how independent merchants see the value of joining a truly democratic buying group.

National Buying Group has reported that new Partner enquiries are at record levels as independent merchants see the value of joining a truly democratic buying group.

Managing Director Nick Oates, fresh from the recent NBG Partner Event in Coventry, says enquiries are being driven by two key factors.

“Undoubtedly independent merchants are seeing the value in being able to access our buying capability which is, I believe, the best in the sector,” he said. “We are also seeing merchants with previous experience of buying groups coming to us wanting a truly democratic Partner-controlled experience where their voice is heard on major decisions.”

Oates says NBG is particularly interested in recruiting specialist merchants. “We’ve always been keen to bring in more specialists who can add real value to the partnership with their in-depth knowledge of sectors and products," he said.

"We’re hopeful of bringing on board new plumbing specialists shortly and we’re keen to recruit more timber, hardware and tooling specialists. Of course, we still want to recruit progressive mixed merchants where we are traditionally strong, with a particular current focus in Southern and Northern England.”

NBG’s own research demonstrates that the group’s buying capabilities are best-in-class.

“We constantly benchmark ourselves against competitors by tracking gross product and it consistently shows a very strong performance that is leading the sector," said Oates. "In our basket of goods, merchants know they get a big win when they come to NBG. That’s a very strong pull factor for new Partners.”

NBG has enjoyed a steady stream of new Partners joining over the last year. Henshaws Roofing & Building Supplies in Greater Manchester is the Group’s latest new addition having joined the Group this Spring. 

Northamptonshire-based LMR Building Supplies and Hampshire-based Woodstock Plumbing & Heating both followed Elec-Mec, a West London and Middlesex-based bathroom, plumbing, heating and electrical merchant business in joining the Group late last year.

Moving buying groups is never an easy decision for independent merchants.

Phil Bonar who leads New Partner Development & Recruitment at NBG said: “That’s why we’ve put in place a package of easy-integration measures and a buddy system that makes the process as easy as possible.

“NBG has never been a more attractive proposition to a forward-thinking independent merchant and that is resulting in record levels of new enquiries.”