Essential reading for retailers and suppliers in the home improvement market

News Archive March 2010

Topps 'satisfied' with latest trading figures 31 March 2010
Topps Tiles has reported, ahead of the period close, stronger sales than last year for the 27-weeks to April 3. However, the company still sees consumer confidence as 'unstable' and describes trading in the second quarter as "subdued".

Brits opt for holidays over home improvements 31 March 2010
Despite promises of the 'don't move, improve' trend boosting DIY sales, UK homeowners would rather spend their money on travel and clothing, says Mintel.

Homebase gears up for Easter 31 March 2010
A new Homebase survey revealed the top five DIY jobs people are likely to do this Easter weekend are garden planting, putting in new flooring, replacing the bathroom, replacing the kitchen and laying decking or patio.

DLF Trifolium sexual harassment case 'resolved' 31 March 2010
The employment tribunal brought by Miranda Harris against former employer DLF Trifolium for sexual discrimination and sexual harassment has been resolved according to both parties.

Theft at Blooms Rugby garden centre 30 March 2010
Intruders take safe from concession store in night time raid at garden centre site.

Shoppers show support over innuendo ads 30 March 2010
Customers are backing a Derbyshire garden centre after it received a complaint over some 'sexy signs'.

Grosvenor celebrates tenth year of excellence 30 March 2010
Grosvenor garden centre in Chester has been awarded Garden Centre of Excellence status for the tenth consecutive year.

Controversial garden centre application gets green light 29 March 2010
Despite protests from locals, Taunton Deane council approves plans for seven-acre garden centre site in Wellington.

John Lewis fined over injured worker 29 March 2010
John Lewis was fined £16,000 at Milton Keynes Magistrates Court on March 19 for breaking health and safety laws.

Selfridges launches transactional website 29 March 2010
Department store's e-commerce site to stock 10,000 lines, including leading home brands, with delivery offered anywhere in Britain.

Builders merchant hits out at Kingfisher TradePoint launch 29 March 2010
Wickes parent company, Travis Perkins, reacts to B&Q's new venture into the trade market, while Kingfisher's ceo Ian Cheshire explains the impact it will have on the sector.

Safety faults exposed at hire firms 26 March 2010
Big name hire firms have removed tools from their shelves after safety faults were discovered.

Green products a 'mass market opportunity', says new report 26 March 2010
New research for Homebase has found that helping households reduce their carbon footprint is a 'mass market opportunity'.

Nine out of ten small firms unhappy over Budget, says poll 26 March 2010
Nine out of ten small firms are unhappy over this year's Budget, according to a snap poll.

B&Q UK star performer in Kingfisher results 25 March 2010
Group retail profit up 64.5% in 2009, with B&Q boosted by showroom sales and successful TradePoint trial.

'Toxic' sofa claims rejected by judge 25 March 2010
Customers who bought 'toxic' sofas from Land of Leather will not receive compensation, the High Court ruled last week.

Compere confirmed for awards event 25 March 2010
Book your place now! Comedian Rufus Hound confirmed as compere for Product of the Year Awards 2010.

Further tentative growth on the high street 24 March 2010
Retail sales grow for second month running but hardware and DIY continue to decline, with the economy not expected to return to full strength until the end of 2011.

Sexual harassment case brought against DLF Trifolium 24 March 2010
Miranda Harris, a former employee of DLF Trifolium, has commenced legal proceedings against the company for sexual discrimination and sexual harassment.

Stick to smaller independents, says Which? Gardening 24 March 2010
Shoppers should shun big brand stores in favour of smaller independent garden centres when buying garden products, according to a new Which? Gardening report.

The Budget 2010: business groups respond 24 March 2010
Support for small businesses played a key part in the Chancellor's Budget announcement today, yet business groups remain anxious over how the deficit will be paid down and wary of political promises.

L.G Harris secures £1.5m for expansion plans 23 March 2010
Paint brush and decorating products manufacturer L.G. Harris has secured a £1.5m loan from Lloyds TSB Corporate Markets to boost production levels and drive expansion.

Carpetright warns of below-market level profits 23 March 2010
Flooring specialist posts 4.9% sales increase but has not seen the recovery it hoped for in 2010.

DSG launches megastore expansion as Best Buy arrives in UK 22 March 2010
DSG International, parent company of Currys, PC World and online brand Dixons, is to open 25 new 'megastores' in the UK by Christmas.

February UK business insolvencies down 15% year-on-year 22 March 2010
UK business insolvencies have fallen 15% year-on-year during February, according to the latest Insolvency Index from Experian.

Job cuts help drive profit growth at Wolseley UK 22 March 2010
745 expected to go from UK arm in first half, while builders merchants reports profit jump of 67.9%.

Furniture and kitchens lead the way for John Lewis 19 March 2010
Bluewater branch reports 73% increase in sales of furniture, while fitted kitchens and bedroom furniture boosts sales in home category across the board.

FPB urges government to help small firms lead economic recovery 19 March 2010
The Forum of Private Business is calling for radical measures to be put in place by next week's Budget to help small businesses spearhead economic recovery.

Homebase fires back at B&Q 19 March 2010
Homebase has fired back at rival B&Q with its own series of price-led adverts.

Spring has sprung on the high street 18 March 2010
Sunnier weather helped boost high street sales for the seventh consecutive week this year, according to BDO High Street Sales Tracker figures.

B&Q launches new eco shops 18 March 2010
B&Q is to open its first eco shops in its flagship stores in New Malden and Sutton this Friday.

BJGF suspends BHETA merger discussions 18 March 2010
In a letter to members, BHETA president Andrew Weiss has explained that the BJGF Board has requested a hiatus in the discussions regarding a merger with BHETA until the issue of presidency is resloved.

Two Global Innovator awards for Steamer Trading 17 March 2010
The Steamer Trading cookshop chain has been honoured twice in this year's Global Innovator Awards (the GIAs) in Chicago, which recognise excellence in housewares retailing around the world.

Scottish retail's worst February since 1999 17 March 2010
The SCR-KPMG Scottish Retail Sales Monitor has reported Scottish retail's worst February since 1999.

Employment law is stifling UK competitiveness, says BCC 17 March 2010
New report from the British Chambers of Commerce finds that the 'relentless flow' of complicated employment law is risking future job creation and making the UK and EU uncompetitive.

Robert Dyas revamps website 17 March 2010
Robert Dyas is launching its new revamped website today to reflect its recent re-branding and boost online sales.

Rapid acquisition completed 17 March 2010
Office products manufacturer Esselte has completed its acquisition of Isaberg Rapid.

Debenhams first half profits up 16 March 2010
Department store chain increases market share with home range and reports strong sales of own-bought ranges.

Stanley Works merger with Black & Decker gets EU approval 16 March 2010
U.S. tool maker Stanley Works has won EU regulatory approval for its purchase of U.S. rival Black & Decker.

John Baker resigns from BHETA board 16 March 2010
BHETA non-executive director John Baker has resigned from the board with immediate effect, but has been co-opted back on until the next agm.

Prolonged cold snap stagnates sales on the high street 16 March 2010
The coldest winter in more than 30 years offered retailers opportunities in the sales of winter products but has prevented the move on to new season's stock.

London sales outperform rest of UK 15 March 2010
Retail sales up 9.9% in the capital, with improved footfall, while the country as whole saw an increase of just 2.2% in February.

HTA establishes new Marketing Committee 15 March 2010
The Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) is establishing a new Marketing Committee, which will meet for the first time in April.

Jewson's parent company smashes waste to landfill target 15 March 2010
Jewson's parent company Saint-Gobain Building Distribution UK (SGBD) has announced it has beaten its target for reducing waste to landfill in 2009.

Gardening sector outstrips DIY 15 March 2010
Recession alters consumer mindset, boosting sales in the garden products sector, as homeowners opt for low-cost pastime and grow your own.

Sale raises £1,100 for Rainy Day Trust 12 March 2010
Hardware industry charity the Rainy Day Trust is almost £1,100 better off, after a charity sale at DIY Week publisher Faversham House Group on March 9.

Bents launches new charity campaign 12 March 2010
Bents Garden & Home supports Ronald McDonald House at Alder Hey Children's Hospital in Liverpool as its charity of the year for 2010.

Charity garden centres burgled twice in a week 12 March 2010
Shaw Trust Palmer Gardens victim of two break-ins, losing £3,000 of equipment in latest incident.

Mulcahy honoured with lifetime award 12 March 2010
Former Kingfisher group md Sir Geoffrey Mulcahy to receive the European Home Improvement Lifetime Award.

Government calls for total peat phase-out by 2020 12 March 2010
Environment secretary Hilary Benn has called for a complete phase-out of peat from the amateur garden market by 2020.

Homebase faring better than Argos 11 March 2010
While the weather has hit 2010 sales at both Homebase and Argos, full-year results, released today, show that Homebase outperformed its stablemate in the 52 weeks to February 27.

Firms ramp up marketing to fight recession 11 March 2010
New FPB survey reveals that smaller businesses hope to beat the recession and boost revenue by stepping up their sales and marketing strategies.

Homesense opens in West Midlands 11 March 2010
Home furnishings chain set to open its largest UK branch in the Black Country at the end of May.

Red Rose blames 'severe financial difficulties' for closure 11 March 2010
Bournemouth-based manufacturer and distributor Red Rose Cookware ceased trading this week.

Staff share in £151m bonus pot as John Lewis posts positive results 11 March 2010
Waitrose and John Lewis employees set to receive 15% of their salary as a bonus, as the Partnership reports a 6.5% sales increase for 2009.

Harrison to stand for BHETA president 11 March 2010
BHETA member Charles Harrison has announced that he is seeking election as president of the trade association at its AGM in May.

Argos compromises customers' security online 10 March 2010
Catalogue-based retailer is revealed to have sent out customers' credit card details in unencrypted emails confirming orders.

QVC sales reach £367.9m in 2009 10 March 2010
Shopping channel's UK sales bolster after challenging start to the year, with strong second half and online sales over the Christmas period.

Homebase offers £10,000 community makeover 10 March 2010
Home improvement retailer asks the public to nominate projects in their local area as part of its Transforming the Nation campaign.

Shop vacancies rise again 10 March 2010
Over 10% of UK high street shops are vacant or available to lease, according to latest Retail Availability survey from real estate adviser Cushman & Wakefield.

February sales up but figures distorted by snow 9 March 2010
UK retail sales values rise 2.2% in February, with homewares returning to growth but BRC stresses that comparisons are weak as a result of snow and a poor economic outlook last year.

New VAT rules 9 March 2010
New legislation, which comes into force in April this year, will see changes to the way businesses pay VAT and file their annual returns.

Sale DIY to relocate 9 March 2010
Sale DIY in Cheshire is relocating after almost 40 years of trading.

Poundland founder to launch mid-market chain 9 March 2010
The man behind the hugely-successful Poundland business is launching a new mid-market variety chain called Hub, whose offer will include hardware, garden and housewares.

FPB warns against 'cowboy' rating surveyors 8 March 2010
As the deadline for retailers to appeal against business rates approaches, companies are urged to be wary of dodgy firms who may rip them off rather than help.

Price deflation a threat to garden industry 5 March 2010
While 2% growth is forecast for the garden products industry in 2010, price competition looks set to have a serious effect on the sector's profitability.

Tesco launches children's gardening range 5 March 2010
Tesco has begun its spring garden activity with the launch of a new children's gardening range.

Rustins sees strong paint sales 5 March 2010
Specialist woodcare and paint company Rustins, has reported a 10% increase in sales in its paint division for 2009.

Product of the Year Awards - deadline extended 4 March 2010
Deadline for entry into the Product of the Year Awards 2010 has been extended to March 19. However, this will be the absolute cut off as the independent panel of retail judges will meet the following week.

TV series to examine small businesses 4 March 2010
New TV series The Business Inspector is aiming to help people turn their businesses around.

Focus supports the National Vegetable Society for 2010 4 March 2010
Focus DIY is continuing its support of the National Vegetable Society (NVS) during 2010.

Potting compost linked to Legionnaire's cases in Scotland 4 March 2010
Health experts call for warning labels on compost following reports of three cases of Legionnaire's disease in Scotland, including one fatality.

Grafton mitigates weak DIY demand with job cuts 4 March 2010
Merchant and DIY chain compensates for 26% drop in sales with cost base reduction of €85m.

B&Q price checks revealed 4 March 2010
B&Q has revealed its price check figures for the first time as it launched its new Decorate for Less campaign today.

Retailers still have time to appeal against business rates 3 March 2010
Forum of Private Business (FPB) urges companies to assess whether their rate bills over the past five years have been set too high after around 160,000 small businesses win rebates.

Retail footfall drops again, while 'fierce competition' keeps prices low 3 March 2010
Store traffic dipped 1.3% in February, with consumers still exhausted by December's 'buying frenzy', despite shop price inflation rising just 1.7%.

B&Q leads government 'green loan' pilot scheme 3 March 2010
B&Q is partnering the London Borough of Sutton in a trial of the Government's new Pay as You Save (PAYS) scheme, introduced yesterday.

Impress purchases assets from STI 2 March 2010
Packaging manufacturer Impress has purchased the assets of Service Tool International (STI), which has decided to enter into liquidation.

BRC calls for spending cuts 2 March 2010
British Retail Consortium urges Chancellor to cut public spending and avoid tax hikes in a bid to help retailers recover from the recession.

Dobbies launches new eco-friendly store 2 March 2010
Dobbies will open its most environmentally-friendly store to date in Aberdeen this week.

Cologne show pulls the crowds 2 March 2010
Exhibitor numbers may have been 20% lower than the pre-recession 2008 show, but with around 2,700 exhibitors, the 2010 Cologne Hardware Fair still dwarfed other shows.

Consumers opt for locally sourced garden products 1 March 2010
HTA research finds that customers are more likely to buy items displaying Union Jack or local marking.

High street boasts strong sales 1 March 2010
High street retailers are continuing to maintain strong sales results, according to BDO's High Street Sales Tracker.

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