The new Senior Buyer at B&M has an exciting prospect ahead of them: to bring closer together the company’s French and German chains through a creative, connected buying strategy. This is a company that’s entrepreneurial in spirit and outlook and rewards employees who propel the business forward.
In the UK, B&M is well known as a leading discount retailer, established in 1978, and has seen impressive growth since its acquisition by the Arora brothers in 2004.
B&M comprises four main businesses: its namesake, based in the UK, comprises 610 stores (averaging 2,000 m2 each) with an annual revenue of 3.6bn EUR across its grocery and general merchandising lines. Heron Foods, also based in the UK, are a chain of 280 small convenience stores. In Germany they trade as Jawoll and operate around 100 stores, very similar in product scope to the Dutch Action stores but with a broad store size ranging from 800 m2 to 2,500m2. Their newest acquisition (in October 2018) is the French retail chain, Babou, of which there are 95 large stores nationwide of 3,000m2 each.
While the UK operation has their own strategy in place, a new, unified approach is required at Jawoll and Babou where the business remit is slightly different. As a multi-billion pound business, B&M’s size allows it to strike deals with premium brands such as Unilever and Procter & Gamble directly. At present the scale and scope of Jawoll and Babou puts the buying focus on wholesalers and grey products, where there is huge potential for growth under the right direction and buying skills.
“The secret of our success is that we reward our people. We grew our UK business from the ground up and so we recognize the impact individuals can have on its success.” Simon Arora, CEO
This is a good time to be joining the team at B&M. Since the company has acquired Babou, there’s an enormous scope for the right candidate to make their mark in this newly-enlarged company.
The Senior Buyer will take responsibility for the joint purchasing of grocery and FMCG goods into the French (Babou) and German (Jawoll) businesses. At present there has been no shared buying responsibility, and this is a great opportunity to align the businesses, increase buying power and develop a strategy to propel both chains into a new period of growth and expansion. With Babou in particular the aim is to introduce and expand the range of grocery and FMCG goods to drive average spend and shopping frequency among its customers – something already familiar at Jawoll where they’re already active in these categories.
The successful candidate will align both businesses through product selection and think creatively about how to extract the best value from the various wholesalers and secondary brands they’ll be working with. They will be liaising both with French brands for the French market, German ones for Jawoll, but also sourcing international brands that can serve both.
This role reports directly into the Group Trading Director of Grocery, Robin Arora. The style of business leadership at B&M is supportive and they pride themselves on rewarding success and trading skills. With this in mind, there’s potential for growth within the company for the right candidate.
There are buying resources already in place in both German and French markets, who will provide admin and day to day support to the Senior Buyer. The candidate will have regular contact and co-operation with the Country Manager for each of France and Germany.
For at least the first six months there will be a travel requirement with this position. The Senior Buyer will be required to travel to both offices in Germany (Hamburg) and France (Clermont Ferrand) approximately once a week, though once the relationship has been established, this will likely be much less frequent.
The role is flexible, it can be based in the Netherlands if that is convenient. The Senior Buyer will operate out of serviced office space, which will be arranged by the company to be close to the successful applicant’s hometown, however regular travel to the head office of Jawoll and Babou is also necessary. .
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