The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) has signed a group membership agreement with Topline Group, said to be the leading buying group in Ireland, supplying DIY and building materials to affiliated stores nationwide.
Formed in 1972 by a small number of independent merchants seeking to purchase more competitively by combining their collective requirements, Topline Group today represents 90 members with 146 outlets across the island of Ireland and an annual spend on building materials, plumbing, heating, timber and general hardware products in excess of €400 million. Total turnover of members exceeds €0.5 billion.
The agreement, which comes into effect on 1 April 2022, will see 13 of Topline Group’s largest members join the BMF immediately, with a three-year development plan to further expand its BMF membership.
Welcoming Topline Group members, John Newcomb, BMF CEO said: “We are delighted to welcome members of Topline Group into BMF membership and look forward to working with them and helping them to benefit from our full range of training and support services.
“This is an exciting development for the BMF which has had a small number of members in Ireland for four years. It is gratifying that our work has demonstrated the value added by a strong and supportive trade body and encouraged the influential Topline Group to build a long-term relationship with the BMF.”
Hugh O’Donnell, Topline Group CEO, explained the attraction of BMF membership: “We exist with an objective of supporting our members – many of whom are 4th, 5th and even 6th generation businesses – to profitably compete. That’s our fundamental purpose. While simply stated, it’s an objective that can only be achieved through competitive purchasing and constant innovation, adding value to the breadth and quality of services we offer to our members.
“Building long-term partnerships with the best suppliers and support organisations has always been important to us and the BMF has certainly established itself as a useful and valuable resource for its members. We hope to tap into this resource and become active and engaged members.”
Topline Chairman, Michael Doyle – owner of well-known Irish merchant, Topline Doyles – added: “We operate on a small island on the edge of Europe. Even in a post-Brexit world, our links to the UK market for various core products remain crucial. Having observed its workings for a long time, we have a high regard for the BMF and giving our members access to it makes a lot of sense strategically and practically. Aside from opportunities to network and develop new trading ties, we are also keen to explore its approach to training and recruitment at a time when the attraction and retention of talent are huge challenges for our members.”
The group membership agreement with Topline Group is the BMF’s second such agreement in Ireland, with 17 members of Allied Merchants Buying Association having joined the BMF under a group agreement in 2017. The addition of the first cohort of Topline Group members increases the total number of BMF merchant members in Ireland to 30.