The last year proved to be very difficult for CIH which, in line with rest of the industry, had no control over many external economic factors, such as reduction of credit limits which has caused some members to retire early, said Robin Millwood, chairman of the buying group, speaking at the annual CIH Suppliers Luncheon. “It seems like CIH has become a property company with now having 20 first charges on members’ properties and many of these members have been solid supporters of CIH for years and have never missed a payment, but payment records and credibility do not appear to account for anything in today’s difficult trading environment.”
Mr Millwood also criticised the pricing policy of some of the group’s suppliers who advised CIH of price rises at the beginning of the year but didn’t keep their promises which caused “to temporarily stop most independents from selling and causes much heartache. Last year I had asked for the suppliers to look at how they take their products to market and reward those that display and support them but I have to say that for most of the year the pigs have still been flying past my window and they are getting fatter.”
Despite these difficulties CIH managed to increase its turnover by 10% in 2009, “but our concern is that all our members are able to make a profitable margin,” Stuart Cook, the group’s chief executive, told IER. His advice to the members for the next twelve months is: “Sell service, sell quality products and don’t compromise.” In his opinion the biggest CIH challenge will be credit limits for its members which they plan to tackle with other solutions if insurance companies won’t extend a helping hand.
Finally, Stuart Cook presented the Annual Euronics Trophies. The CIH Business Partner was Magic Solutions consultancy responsible for the new Euronics website which features a click and collect facility and gives members the opportunity to show the complete range of products.
The title of the Brown Goods Supplier of the year went to LG Electronics which increased its turnover with the group by 477%, having changed its channel strategy. The White Goods Supplier of the year trophy was awarded to Beko UK which recorded growth of 47% since April with the group.