A new buying group for independent retailers is being rolled out nationally this week – powered by the internet.

IBN.net provides retailers with a single statement, single payment option for a large number of direct-to-store suppliers, with all copy invoices and payment histories accessible via the internet.

More than 150 suppliers have signed up, including Country Choice, Cuisine de France, Robert Wiseman Dairies, AG Barr, Ginsters and Flowerfete, and each has the facility to post product and promotional news as part of the service. The group has built a network of retail customers over the past two years, largely through the acquisition of existing buying groups Gains-more based in South Wales and FRG in South East England.

IBN.net is headed by managing director Patrick Walkington, who used to run Palmer & Harvey’s ACE drop-shipment programme. P&H is on board as a key supplier to the network.

Walkington told C-Store that he saw the operation as a means of bringing the traditional buying group into the 21st century. He said: “The IBN.net option is more cost effective in that we need fewer staff to manage than for a paper-based approach. 

“There are signs that some buying groups are reducing services, whereas we will be in a position to at least maintain or even improve them.”

For more information, go to www.independentbuyer.net.