Essential reading for retailers and suppliers in the home improvement market

News Archive December 2008

Is Whittard's the next credit crunch casualty? 23 December 2008
Tea, coffee and housewares retailer Whittard of Chelsea is understood to be on the brink of administration.

Hultafors Group acquires Snickers 23 December 2008
The Hultafors Group has owned Snickers Workwear since December 2006, however, in a deal announced today, it will acquire the franchise company Snickers Original in the UK.

Home Retail's return to FTSE a disappointment 23 December 2008
Shares in Argos and Homebase parent company drop 13% to 204p after a six month absence due to concerns over level of discounting.

British company bucks trend 22 December 2008
Shutter and blind retailer The California Company has reported a 26% increase in like-for-like profits for the three months to October.

Klondyke Group buys 24th centre 22 December 2008
Bob and Dorothy Gault, owners of the Klondyke Group of Garden Centres, including Strikes Garden Centres, have confirmed the acquisition of Brookside Garden Centre at Poynton, Cheshire.

Plastic shopping bag use to be cut by 50% 19 December 2008

Major retailers have signed up to a government initiative to cut the use of plastic bags in half by spring 2009.


Hobbycraft profits up 10% 19 December 2008
Hobbycraft is so far proving immune to the economic downturn by revealing turnover has grown by £7.7m to 62.1m.

Poundland fined after selling knife to teenager 18 December 2008
A Poundland store has had to pay more than £4,000 after being caught selling a knife to a 17-year-old.

UPDATE: M&S cuts prices again 18 December 2008
Marks and Spencer is again cutting prices on homewares in the run up to Christmas.

Akzo Nobel acquires majority ownership of Japanese venture 17 December 2008
Decorative coatings company agrees a 75/25 majority interest in joint venture with Nippon Kayaku.

Impressive attendance at NBG annual conference 17 December 2008
More than 250 people flock to Hilton Hotel in Newcastle for National Buying Group event on December 2.

Woolworths to close all stores by January 5 [UPDATED] 17 December 2008
Staff informed of retailer’s decision to close doors for the final time in New Year after administrators fail to find a buyer.

Electrolux axes over 3,000 jobs 16 December 2008
Domestic appliance supplier reduces employee numbers after ‘sharp decline in demand’ means the company won’t reach full year target for 2008.

Looking bright in the long-term for lighting industry 15 December 2008
Independent lighting retailers will have a tough time next year but a healthy 2010, according to a new report.

BHETA members say yes to merger 15 December 2008
Members of the British Home Enhancement Trades Association (BHETA) have voted overwhelmingly in favour of joining forces with the British Jewellery, Giftware & Finishing Federation (BJGF) in a 95% to 5% victory.

Kingfisher pushes for fair deal on rents 15 December 2008
DIY giant joins the ranks of retailers pushing landlords for better payment deals and elimination of quarterly rents.

British Hardware Federation announces merger 15 December 2008
The BHF announced this morning that it is to merge with the British Shops and Stores Association (BSSA), hot on the heels of the news that BHETA is to merge with the BJGF.

Bryan Farthing 12 December 2008
Bryan Farthing, the former editor of Hardware Trade Journal - which became DIY Week - died on Saturday December 6. He was 82.

Win Wimbledon tickets! 12 December 2008
Want a pair of tickets for the 2009 Men's Final day at Wimbledon? With a full hospitality package? Then now is your chance, with a pair of tickets being auctioned off in aid of industry charity the Rainy Day Trust.

Rightway buys up Welsh firm Bevans 11 December 2008
Wirral-based Rightway has expanded into north Wales by taking over Bevans.

Woolworths: Everything must go 11 December 2008
Woolworths is struggling to see in its centenary after administrators announced a closing down sale would start today.

Wickes battles credit crunch with first TV campaign in a decade 11 December 2008
Wickes is fighting back against the gloomy economy by splashing out £15m on a series of commercials.

Decco helps out Christmas charity 10 December 2008
A gloomy economy hasn't stopped the DIY industry supporting charity this Christmas.

Sir Geoff Mulcahy wants to re-buy Woolworths 10 December 2008
The man who made Kingfisher a global DIY force is the latest name to be linked with a bid for Woolworths.

Marks & Spencer is offering 30% off homeware and furniture 10 December 2008
Marks & Spencer is cutting prices in the run up to Christmas on a range of products - including its home range.

London the set for IHA 2009 9 December 2008
London is set to host the 2009 International Hardware Association congress next September.

Woolworths fined over asbestos exposure 9 December 2008
High street retailer dealt another blow as it is ordered to pay £40,000 in fines and costs after staff at two Devon stores were exposed to asbestos.

QVC is totally talent spotting 9 December 2008
QVC will be looking for new DIY and garden products to fill their TV schedules at next year's Totally shows.

Carpetright snap up Sleepright for just under £2m 9 December 2008
Carpetright has announced it has taken over bed retail specialists Sleepright for a reported £1.8m

Shoots rolls out online store 8 December 2008
Gardening chain ventures online to maximise sales as part of its plan to 'become a major force in garden centre retailing'.

'Mega Monday' signals busiest day for internet shopping 8 December 2008
Shoppers expected to reach spending rate of £16,000 per second in online binge as they search the web for gifts they couldn’t find at the weekend.

Up to 50% off in Woolworths sale 5 December 2008
Woolworths has today cut up to 50% of certain lines as its administrators attempt to sell off stock in the run up to Christmas.

Woolworths makes first redundancies 5 December 2008
Deloitte, the administrators called in last month to handle the sale of the retail giant, announced that 450 jobs had been cut from support operations in London and Rochdale.

Home Retail launches discount sofa site 5 December 2008
The Home Retail group is responding to the credit crunch by offering customers the chance to snap up bargain price sofas.

Morrisons like-for-like sales up 8.1% 4 December 2008
Morrisons like-for-like sales have grown by 8.1% without fuel meaning the supermarket chain outstripped Tesco in the third quarter.

An animated range - Disney to push home lines in 2009 4 December 2008
Disney is looking to expand its market share of home products by branding some of its biggest names on to a series of new ranges in 2009.

Woolworths administration: What does Deloitte plan? 4 December 2008
Woolworths the former high street champion and current media punch bag went into administration last week.

Ethical homeware chain The Pier in administration 4 December 2008
The Pier has joined a sad and increasingly long list of firms who've been forced to call in the administrators due to financial difficulties.

High street names launch second round of pre-Christmas sales 3 December 2008
Marks and Spencer will hold a second one-day sale in as many months as it looks to drive up pre-Christmas sales, as Debenhams plans three-day price cut.

Shoppers to spend online this Christmas 3 December 2008
New figures reveal convenience is key rather than price in encouraging consumers to splash their cash on the web.

Tesco Q3 results released 2 December 2008
Tesco announced profits in the UK were up but non-food sales including homeware showed a 'small decline'.

BDC administrators say write off debts 2 December 2008
Administrators for electrical distributor Bridisco Group have written to retailers telling them to pay 'in full' for new goods regardless of anything they might be owed.

VAT reduction and Christmas sales boost struggling John Lewis 1 December 2008
John Lewis recorded a 10% week-on-week rise in sales in the last seven days, helping the firm shrug off overall profits being down 13%.

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Latest reader comments

re: B&Q sales dip 2.5%, as showroom sales decline

B&Q bob
Screwfix sales are up because they position new stores close to B&Q stores but then price like for like products cheaper than within BQ ...

re: B&Q kicks off kitchen & bathroom recruitment drive

B&Q bob
Wickes are not alone, Wrens kitchens has seen large numbers of unappreciated BQ kitchen sales staff join them because of BQs attitude ...

re: Toolstation.com excels in Which? website survey

Roger Bishop
This was my first visit to toolstation in farnham but it will definatly not be my last the service was exceptional staff were welcoming i ...

re: Graham Bell to head up B&Q as part of Kingfisher reshuffle

B&Q bob
Ms Laury has overseen perhaps the worst period of BQ history under her leadership, staff have had their wages cut while witnessing their ...

re: Screwfix opens 600th store as business continues to build

B&Q bob
Why is kingfisher giving screwfix lower prices to sell at than their BQ stores? Staff in B&Q suffer constant abuse from trade customers ...

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