National Buying Group’s partner survey positive for face-to-face

National Buying Group (NBG) has released its latest Partner survey, reflecting sentiment around readiness to reopen showrooms and welcome Supplier representatives back to their sites.

The survey – which has been conducted quarterly since the first national lockdown – has shown a positive uplift in the number of Partners opening their showrooms and branches to the public and conducting business with Suppliers on site.

Overall, 94% of respondents indicated their branches are now fully open, with 3% remaining closed on Saturdays mainly due to a conscious change in business operating hours. This is a significant change since the last survey in November when only 86% were fully open and 12% were closed on Saturdays.

There was also a small rise in the number of Partners who had fully opened their showrooms, from 48% last year to 57% now. Are branches open

NBG managing director, Nick Oates, said: “It is fantastic to see so many of our Partners now in a position where they are confident to fully reopen their branches and showrooms. Through the NBG community, all of our Partners have been able to share their experiences, advice, and best practice, ensuring the independent merchant sector was able to weather the pandemic.”

When conducting business, just over half (52%) are already allowing manufacturers’ representatives on-site, with an additional 21% expected to allow visits by /June, and 10% looking at July. 11% were looking further into the future, with plans to allow these visits again from the third quarter of 2021.

The survey also showed that 93% of respondents’ staff have returned to the office full time, with 4% splitting their work between a branch and their home, while 3% remain working from home full time. This is also representative of Partners’ intentions from July when restrictions are expected to have eased.


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