MKM hitting the North as it bids to spread beyond its heartland

YORKSHIRE-based builders merchants MKM is expanding across the North of England, after its trading performance beat expectations.


The Hull-based company has created 37 jobs by establishing branches in Durham, and Willowbridge Lane, in Castleford, which takes its total headcount to 786. The move brings the total number of MKM branches across the UK to 42.

It is part of an expansion plan, which could see MKM open a total of six branches in 2014, as the company seeks to expand beyond its heartland.

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Founder and executive chairman David Kilburn said the Durham branch built on MKM’s strong position in the North East of England, while the new Castleford operation extended the company’s reach along the M62 corridor.

Despite having branches in North, East and South Yorkshire, MKM Castleford is the company’s first base in West Yorkshire.

Mr Kilburn said yesterday: “The locations of these new branches are strategic.

“The North East has always been a key area for us, but with the obvious omission of Durham which we have now rectified. It joins our other branches in Stockton, Darlington, Hartlepool, Morpeth, Hexham and Alnwick to give us a clear and strong presence in the area.

“Castleford sees us expand for the first time into West Yorkshire, which we believe holds enormous potential for MKM.

“With a significant belt of industrial and residential properties that surround the M62 corridor, stretching all the way to our most westerly stores in Macclesfield and Southport, there is a considerable geographic region that remains as yet untapped. Castleford is our first step to accessing those markets.” The Durham branch will be run by joint directors Paul Brooks and Steve Bartle, while Russell Safhill will head up the Castleford operation.

All branch directors working for MKM benefit from a profit-share arrangement.

Mr Brooks said: “Coming from the industry, it is great to have the opportunity to put all the knowledge I have acquired over the years to good use and build something along with Steve.

“It means we have greater responsibility, of course, but the rewards are much better than working for someone else.”

The company’s bosses were heartened by MKM’s latest full year results.

Mark Smith, the financial director of MKM Building Supplies, said yesterday: “MKM Building Supplies posted a robust performance in the year to September 2013, growing turnover 14 per cent to £163m, up from £143m in the previous 12 months.

“The business saw strong sales growth across its markets, particularly from April onwards, as confidence further returned to the house building sector and the trend of home improvements continued unabated.

“A strong profit performance in the year was underpinned by the new branch opening in Glasgow during September, and additional strengthening of the management infrastructure to support the expanding business.

“Further expansion is planned during this year.

“Business has remained strong throughout the first four months of the new financial year, putting MKM Building Supplies ahead of forecasts for 2014.”

MKM was founded with five staff in 1995 in a 5,000 sq ft shed in Hull.

The company supplies a range of materials for use in building, joinery plumbing and landscaping.

It stocks kitchen and bathroom suites.

MKM has also been involved in developing some of Hull’s best known buildings including the KC Stadium, which is the home of Hull City football club and Hull FC rugby league club, and Hull Collegiate School.

In 2012, MKM launched MKM online, an e-commerce store that sells a range of DIY, gardening and building accessory products.

The majority of MKM’s shares are held by the management team, including Mr Kilburn, although private equity houses 3i and Lloyds Development Capital also have minority stakes in the business.