Ireland’s leading distributor and supporter of globally renowned brands for Ireland's electrical and kitchen retailers, the KAL Group – which is a member of the Gowan Group of companies and trades in Northern Ireland and the UK under the name AB Distributors – was founded in 1981.
The company has grown and evolved over the years to become the exclusive distributor of a host of bluechip brands, including Aga, Breville, Carron Phoenix, Dirt Devil , Elica, Franke, InSinkerator, LG, Mayfair, Neff and NordMende, as well as, Nicky Clarke and Carron Phoenix. Completing the company portfolio is a number of recent additions, such as Sharp consumer appliances, Haier fridge freezers and washing machines and German home appliance specialist Bauknecht.
While both KAL and AB Distributors enjoy a significant market share in almost every category in which they are represented, the KAL Group’s success, according to managing director Richard Broderick, “is rooted in a focus on high quality brands and, more importantly, outstanding service to customers - a service which is unsurpassed in the industry.”
As a company, the KAL Group is a firm believer in adding value to its service, Broderick explains, and, subsequently, has created what he describes as “a company that embodies a value system, rather than a series of ad-hoc contracts between KAL and its customers.” KAL’s perennial emphasis on meeting customers’ expectations and providing them with an experience that is unrivalled. “We have built up a reputation as a company that is highly responsive to meeting our customers' individual requirements and expectations,” Broderick mentions, highlighting the company’s state-of-the-art showroom in Dublin’s Citywest, which is the largest of its kind in Europe and, having recently undergone an extensive refurbishment, provides a stunning showcase for the company’s respective kitchen and consumer appliance brands. “In addition to our on-site team of customer advisors, who provide assistance in answering customers’ product queries, we also offer the invaluable back-up of our professional Customer Support Unit, who are on hand to offer customers professional advice and assistance with any query that they might have.”
THE BRANDS & RECENT DEVELOPMENTS
Together KAL and AB Distributors boast an enviable portfolio of kitchen appliance and consumer electronic brands, with options at almost every price point. The KAL Group prides itself on outstanding relationships with its respective brands, many of whom have been represented by the company over several decades. It is also keenly aware of the need to evolve and develop, and is never content to rest on its impressive laurels.
Evidence of the company’s proactive approach is manifold. The recent investment in KAL’s 20,000 sq ft showroom in Citywest, for instance, is indicative of strong confidence in the KAL Group’s various brands, while the recent launch of the NordMende brand in the UK epitomises the company’s drive to conquer new markets.
Equally laudable is the company’s recent announcement of an agreement made with Groupe Brandt (France) S.A.S., to promote and distribute De Dietrich kitchen appliances throughout the UK and Ireland. Perhaps most exciting of all recent developments, however - and one that epitomises the company’s drive and tenacity - is the recent addition of a selection of brands to the KAL portfolio.
In September, the company broke news of a partnership with Whirlpool, which has resulted in the launch of the high-end Bauknecht brand on the Irish market. The launch of the blue chip, multi-award-winning German brand in Ireland represents a considerable statement of intent by both KAL and represents the company’s confidence in Bauknecht and, indeed, in the Irish economy.
“We believe the market is ready for a new brand,” says Richard Broderick, who believes that Bauknecht’s reputation and heritage should ensure that it is particularly well received in the Irish market, both by consumers and retailers alike. “There’s nothing quite like it here [in Ireland]: it has an extremely strong specification, an excellent back-up in terms of service and demonstrations and it offers excellent value for money. “It is a big commitment but it is a worthwhile investment when one considers the success of the Bauknecht brand in Europe and the potential opportunities it will give Irish retailers and consumers to experience the new exciting and innovative technologies of the Bauknecht brand.”
In addition to Bauknecht, KAL have recently added both Sharp and Haier to their portfolio. While the former is a household name in the consumer electronics arena, the Haier brand can lay claim to being the world’s leading manufacturer of major appliances. AB Distributors will now be distributing many of their energy-saving home solutions, which include refrigeration, freezers, washer dryers and wine coolers.
Positivity and optimism perhaps best describe the mood and ambience at the KAL Group’s headquarters. The paint may only just have dried on the upgraded and refurnished showroom but, it seems, there’s no time to admire the craftsmanship. Plans are being put into action to continue to drive the company forward and to consolidate and grow further its market share of brands, whether established or newly acquired. The launch of NordMende brand in the UK represents a key strand of the company’s strategy and hopes are understandably high that it can replicate the highly impressive reaction from the Irish market. There’s also the significant matter of overseeing the promotion and Distribution of De Dietrich kitchen appliances throughout both the UK and Ireland, as well as ensuring that new additions such as Haier and Bauknecht are given the perfect platform to launch themselves on Irish soil. It all adds up, needless to say, for a very busy – and very exciting time – for all involved with KAL and AB Distributors.
The Gowan Group
The Gowan Group is a family-owned holding company, directly controlling many successful trading companies as well as significant property holdings and financial investments in public and private companies in Ireland, Northern Ireland and the U.K.
The name Gowan derives from Gaelic of the family name Smith. Founded in 1969 by the late Con Smith, the Group exclusively distributes a number of blue chip brand names in Ireland, including Peugeot, Honda, Senator Windows, in addition to those distributed by KAL.
The Gowan Group is a dynamic group always striving for success and a high level of achievement. Since its foundation, the Gowan Group have enjoyed consistent success. This is due not only to the quality of their products but also to the vitality and enthusiasm of their distributor network.
The success of the Gowan Group has been built on a policy of rigorous professionalism and attention to their stakeholders: customers, employees, suppliers, and shareholders. They are dedicated to each of their companies being recognised as a business of integrity, handling quality products and offering the best value to their customers.