Office Brands on growth path with non-core categories
Dealer group members urged to think outside the stationery square.
Among the many challenges facing independent office supplies dealers is how to increase sales in an increasingly competitive market.
Office Brands members were given quite a few leads last weekend at the group’s annual conference and trade show, held at the Sanctuary Cove Resort on the Gold Coast.
Sales among members of Office Brands (comprising Office National, Office Products Depot, O-Net and Office Power brands) were up seven per cent over the past year, primarily driven by growth in the furniture, facilities and education categories.
Office Brands CEO Gavin Ward said that the group’s furniture sales were growing by three times the industry average while education and facilities sales were expanding at twice the rate of the industry benchmark.
Ward added that vertical expansion is also driving new sales in child and aged care, medical, ergonomics and work wear.
To underline the growth in the so-called ‘non-core’ categories, several Office Brands members outlined their success in growing sales during a series of panel sessions.
One member, who identified a niche for the medical profession, now has 120 medical practices which account for 20 per cent of his business.
Another member leveraged early success with the aged care sector, which now accounts for 20 per cent of his business.
Two members said they doubled their education business in recent times, growing the category by 50 per cent over the past three years to more than $4.5 million.
Ward that the work wear category had been particularly strong for one Office National member whose work wear sales are up by more than 80 per cent and are now ahead of an annual target of $500,000.
“One of our panellists has also killed the paradigm that you are limited by the size of your town by doing $5.5 million in a town of just 27,000 people,” he said.
During his opening speech, Ward also revealed:
o Over half of the group’s members have recorded growth over the last two years.
o Of those half they are up by more than 10 per cent.
o In technology, marketing automation and EDM programs have generated over $10 million per year.
o Web sales across the board have been increasing by over 50 per cent each month compared to the prior year.
PHOTO CAPTION: Office Brands' leadership team (from left): Gavin Ward, Rob Surya, Phyabae Leong, Andrew Gilbert, Cameron Orth and David Anson.