by Perry Reynolds
The International Housewares Association sponsored a retail trade mission to the UK last month. If your company has never taken advantage of these missions, those who have will tell you that the missions are an excellent way to create and execute a plan to either open or improve your business in the market in which the trade mission takes place.
Each Trade Mission offers expanded tours of retailers in each market, and more importantly, face-to-face meetings with key decision makers from key retailers in each market. Companies who participate receive Key Retailer Reports including buyer contact information. That information is also available to all members of IHA’s International Business Council (IBC). IBC membership is available to all regular members of IHA at no charge. Information on joining IBC is at http://www.housewares.org/ibc/.
To follow are a few highlights of the recent mission to the UK.
Among the retailers whose stores were visited were: Steamer Trading, Lakeland, Bentalls, TKMaxx, House of Fraser, John Lewis, Argos and Homebase.
The group met with key executives from those stores, from Amazon UK and from four UK-based distributors.
The group’s first visit was to Bentalls where executives explained their unique approach to creating custom assortments for each Bentalls store.
The group later met with Ben Phillips of Steamer Trading, who presented his strategic plan and discussed the attributes of a valuable trading partner for his business.
The group also visited the impressive Central London offices of Amazon UK where executives briefed the group on Amazon UK’s remarkable growth.
On the group’s visit to department store retailer House of Fraser their executive team told the group the story of their recent purchase by company in China and their plans for explosive global growth.
The group had a presentation from buying executives from TKMaxx and John Lewis followed, as all meetings are, with one to one presentations to buyers.