Hip to be Square: Hultafors targets UK growth

Hip to be Square: Hultafors targets UK growth

For over 140 years, Hultafors has been developing innovative hand tools and equipment to meet the needs of trade professionals. Part of a wider group that includes Snickers Workwear and Solid Gear safety footwear, PBM spoke with Nicki Hickman, UK Marketing Manager of the Group’s Hardware division, to find out more about its latest new ranges and support packages for merchant stockists.

Q: We know that Hultafors has a long history in the sector, but could you provide a brief overview of the firm’s evolution and growth?

A: Although the UK merchant market may not be quite as familiar with the Hultafors brand name, our Swedish Heritage goes all the way back to 1883 when our founder, Karl-Hilmer Johansson Kollén designed what is now the world-renowned folding rule. Since then, we have spent the last 140 years developing and manufacturing tools for the professional.

Part of the Hultafors Group, Hultafors falls under the Hardware division in the UK which has grown in recent years to include Telesteps, the number one in telescopic ladders and Denmark’s innovative Scangrip lighting brand.

The addition of British tape manufacturer — Fisco — to the Hultafors banner with its extensive range of market-leading tapes (including the iconic BRICK-MATE) further cements our commitment to the UK market. All our measuring tapes are produced here in the UK so we, thankfully, don’t need to worry about the current uncertainty and disruptions being seen in the supply chain.

With warehouses in the UK and Poland, our distribution routes can be far more reactive and reliable than the Far East, delivering a more secure distribution option. Our partnership with Toolbank also offers merchants the option of next-day delivery via its B2B portal and sales team, with all main product lines listed across the Hultafors, Telesteps and Scangrip ranges.

Q: What can you tell us about the latest new product developments?

A: We’ve built our brand and reputation on consistently delivering a range of tools that deliver the best possible function, reliability and precision for professionals. And when we believe in an idea, we give it 100%.

We’ve kicked off our 2024 activity with the launch of three new square models for the trade — a professional model, a lightweight model, and a successor to our renowned adjustable mitre square: the Quattro 270. The new additions further expand on the existing Hultafors carpenter squares range, offering a wider choice of options to find the perfect solution for every application need.

Forming part of Hultafors’ sustainability work, we have invested in completely new production equipment for the squares which are manufactured in one of our four European factories.

PBM finds out more about Hultafors' latest new product ranges and support packages for merchant stockists.

And building on the success of one of our hero products — the Tool Bucket — we’ve also recently launched the Tool Bucket Organizer. Made from heavy-duty ballistic polyester fabric for increased durability, the multi-pocketed soft-sided insert is specifically designed to fit inside our top-selling carrier, converting it into a tool organiser complete with drill holster and tool holders.

Initial feedback from the market has been hugely positive and we’re excited to be launching an expanded new range in the coming weeks. Watch this space!

Q: And what support tools are available for merchants in terms of merchandising and marketing support?

A: As a premium brand, our point of sale and content have to be of A+ class quality to live up to the performance of the tools. Our silent salesmen magnetic shadow boards showcase each product’s key features and benefits and include a QR code that links to application videos on our YouTube channel.

In addition to branded toolbars and metre stands, we offer a range of quality bespoke display options — including standalone units, countertop displays and ripper shipper boxes — to offer a wide range of in-store options.

All new product launches are supported with social media content, including user application product clips and we offer merchants access to a free online asset bank for images, videos, product information and press releases.

Q: Given its growing importance to the market, how important is the issue of sustainability to the business?

A: Since 2018, we have significantly reduced the carbon dioxide emissions from our European factories by an incredible 70%.

Furthermore, Telesteps relocated its manufacturing from China to Sweden in 2022 to become the only manufacturer of telescopic ladders with production in Europe. This move reduced our carbon footprint significantly. We also took the further step to ensure that all our suppliers and sub-suppliers are located within a tight radius of the production line, extending our efforts to reduce our environmental impact.

We’re not resting on our laurels, though! We have some further sustainability improvements planned for 2024 and, as a group, Hultafors has set an impressive ambition to reduce its footprint by 92% by 2030 (benchmarked against the 2018 numbers).

Q: Finally, what else can we expect from Hultafors over the coming months?

A: 2024 is a big year for Hultafors. We’re relaunching our hardware brands — Hultafors, Telesteps and Scangrip — in the UK with an extensive plan for distribution expansion through the merchant sector alongside an increased presence at the Cologne Toolfair, Professional Builder Toolfairs and other key trade shows across the UK and Ireland.

We’ve invested heavily in our brands with a new marketing strategy that reaches across both digital platforms and traditional print, focused on increasing brand awareness in the marketplace and assisting merchants with sell-through.

The Hultafors name is incredibly strong in Scandinavia — synonymous with the highest-quality and true tradespeople in the trade — and the UK and Ireland markets are a key focus for our expansion plans for 2024 and beyond.

Click or tap the following link for more information on the Hultafors range of products and support services for merchants: www.hultafors.co.uk

PBM finds out more about Hultafors' latest new product ranges and support packages for merchant stockists.

PBM finds out more about Hultafors' latest new product ranges and support packages for merchant stockists.

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