Raja Group, a European distributor of packaging, office supplies, and other business and industrial products that it sells through an international network of e-marketplaces, has provided details of its growth plans after another strong performance in 2015.

The France-based group’s sales increased 8% in 2015 to €475 million ($530 million) and it said that profitability had improved year on year by 28%, although it declined to specify an actual profit number. Raja does not break out e-commerce sales and financial information.

Almost half of the group’s profit’s came from its 14 European markets outside France, while sales in these countries grew by 27% to around €180 million–about 40% of total sales. Raja operates more than a dozen e-commerce portals across Europe, including Rajapack.co.uk in the United Kingdom.

The 2015 top-line figure was boosted by the acquisition of United Kingdom retail products supplier Morplan, where full-year sales grew by more than 16% and profit was up by 21%. Morplan is set to open in Germany shortly with an e-commerce site offering 5,000 product SKUs.

European expansion is one of Raja’s key objectives this year. In addition to growing its presence in Germany via Morplan, Raja will move into the Portuguese and Slovakian markets where it will launch catalogues and a website supported by telesales and field sales teams.

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Other initiatives include:

Product diversification

Raja will continue the roll out of its RajaPro catalogue focusing on the storage, materials handling and workshop equipment categories for distribution and industrial customers. The catalogue was launched in France and Germany in January of this year and will be now introduced in seven other countries: Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain and the UK.

In the second half of the year, Raja will bring out a new catalogue called RajaBoutique aimed at smaller retailers and e-commerce resellers. This catalogue will feature about 1,500 SKUs representing a variety of packaging-related products such as bags, wrapping paper, and protective boxes and packaging.

Relaunch of L’Equipier in France

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L’Equipier is Raja’s cleaning, hygiene, janitorial and sanitation and personal protective equipment reseller brand in France. Over the course of the year, it will get a revamped catalogue, a new website with more than 4,000 SKUs and a new distribution facility near Paris.

Launch of RajaMarket

Raja will launch its own marketplace called RajaMarket. The idea is to offer all the group’s European clients an enlarged product offering from the diverse products groups available from its various European subsidiaries. Not, therefore, a third-party marketplace model like at Amazon, but an internal group marketplace featuring all products available across the group. The independent cash-and-carry retailer Raja Market in Finland is nothing to do with Raja Group, the company says.

All these initiatives appear to be paying off: the group confirmed that, by the end of April, year-on-year sales had increased by 10%–in line with its objectives–and that it was looking to make further acquisitions.

Andy Braithwaite is editor-at-large of Office Products International, where this article first appeared before it was slightly edited to appear in B2BecNews. The original version can be viewed at OPI.net.

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