Yardmaster International, the Draperstown-based manufacturer of flat pack metal garden sheds and garages, have won business with one of Germany’s top DIY stores. Yardmaster, the UK market leader, was assisted by Invest Northern Ireland’s office in Dusseldorf to identify and develop the new business there.
The deal with Hellweg in Dortmund, which could be worth around £500,000, will see Yardmaster’s extensive range of self assembly galvanised steel sheds on sale in the company’s 80 DIY depots across Germany and six in Austria.
Keith Kyle, Yardmaster’s Export Marketing Manager, said the new deal is the outcome of a focus by the company on expanding business in Germany, especially to the country’s extensive DIY retail sector.
“We’ve been working to develop our DIY sales in Germany over the past two years because it’s a huge marketplace, probably the biggest in Europe. In fact the DIY market is currently worth around £15 billion a year.
“The move into retailing builds on our success with The Otto Group in Hamburg, the world’s biggest mail order company and the second biggest internet sales operation. It gives us an extensive network of sites at which German DIY enthusiasts can see the quality and flexibility of our product.
“While having a good internet presence is very important, we also provide display models to the stores as we’ve found that the ‘touch’ factor is essential. Potential customers like to be able to feel the quality of our products before they buy.
“Invest NI has a very knowledgeable and responsive team in Dusseldorf. They worked with us in terms of expert market research and prospecting for the right retail partner for us in Germany. While I am a fluent German speaker, it was also good to be able to count on support, particularly in terms of technical translation, from fluent German speakers at the Invest NI office. They were also able to provide logistic support on how best to get our products to the new customer,” he added.
Dr Vicky Kell, Invest NI’s Trade Director, welcoming the Co Londonderry company’s success in Germany, said: “Yardmaster’s breakthrough in this strategically important market is an excellent example of the depth of expert and practical support that our in-market teams are providing to local companies, particularly smaller businesses wishing to increase export sales.
“The Dusseldorf office has assisted many SMEs to set up and grow in one of the most competitive and challenging European markets. The team comprises fluent German speakers with extensive knowledge of and experience in business procedures there. They help companies to identify market opportunities and how best to exploit these.”