Toomebridge kitchen components firm looks to GB to grow sales

With support from Invest Northern Ireland, Toomebridge kitchen component manufacturer Uform is investing almost £400,000 to grow its sales in Great Britain.

Invest NI has offered over £140,000 towards the investment projects, which will enable Uform to compete even more strongly in the lucrative and fast-growing ‘contemporary style’ segment of the kitchen components market. The company expects to grow its overall GB sales by more than 25 per cent as a result.

Uform is rolling out a major marketing and PR strategy to promote its new range of high-end, gloss-finished kitchen doors and accessories, particularly concave and convex curved components. The company is also upgrading its IT systems to improve order processing and is appointing specialist managers to drive GB sales and oversee efficiency savings.

Kevin McCann, Invest NI’s Director of Transport, Construction and Tourism, says: “The recession has impacted heavily on the construction industry, requiring local companies to become even more innovative and outward-looking in order to maintain and grow profit levels.

“Recognising this, Uform has developed a product range to satisfy the demand created by the growing number of consumers around the UK who are choosing to renovate their existing homes rather than move. A focused publicity and marketing campaign will help ensure that the company exploits this opportunity fully and is well placed to overcome the challenges of the current economic climate.”

Eamon Donnelly, Managing Director of Uform, says: “Trading conditions in our industry have rarely, if ever, been so difficult, with the Republic of Ireland market in particular dropping off dramatically. However, we see this as an excellent opportunity to increase our focus on GB and challenge the European imports that currently dominate the luxury market there.

“A major programme of marketing and publicity, supported by Invest NI, will target key potential customers and trade buyers. This will include attendance at important trade shows and the production of a wide range of merchandise, such as brochures and eye-catching point-of-sale branding. A dedicated GB sales manager will oversee these activities and follow up by developing valuable relationships with clients. We will also continue to refine and improve our product range.”

Mr Donnelly added: “Invest NI is also helping us recruit an operations manager and revamp our computer systems. This will enable us to improve our processes, with particular focus on management information systems, to enhance supply chain management and the customer buying experience. This has also helped generate cost savings that are crucial at this time.”