Exclusive: Independents announce new buying group

Bradfords and MKM are leaving their respective buying groups to form a new partnership, the Leading Independent Merchants Alliance (LIMA).

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The shock move has caused much speculation throughout the industry. In an exclusive interview with BMJ’s Mark Rowland, Bradfords managing director Dennis Smith explained why the decision was taken.

“We felt that it was time for a change,” he said. “We have been members of CBA for many years and have seen benefits from that, but for us, the benefits have slowed recently. We found that MKM were in a similar situation when they left CEMCO, so we entered talks with them and came to the decision to form LIMA.”

Smith believes that the move could act as a catalyst for change in the industry.

“It’s not up to me to suggest this sort of move to other merchants, but I think that the change that we have taken will cause others to look at what they are currently doing and question whether it is really right for them,” he said. “I hope that it will have a positive effect on the industry.”

More flexibility

Smith said that the large number of members of the CBA made it difficult for decisions to be made quickly and efficiently.

“There are so many people that need to have a say on a given issue and in that situation it usually becomes a case where those who shout the loudest get their own way, whether it’s beneficial for the group in general or not,” he said.

Smith believes that LIMA will allow them greater flexibility when dealing with customers and suppliers and that the size of the group is key to this.

“We’re not actively looking to extend it; in fact we intend to keep the group small. We don’t want to operate like a typical buying group.”

The two companies will leave their respective buying groups as of December 31. LIMA will start operating from the first of January next year.

“We’re really excited about the opportunities and freedom it offers us,” Smith said. “The response from suppliers has been fantastic; we have had a universal positive response from suppliers.”

For more on this story, see the December issue of BMJ.

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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