Essential reading for retailers and suppliers in the home improvement market

News Archive January 2011

Argos offers Facebook Deals 31 January 2011
Argos has announced today that it is participating in Facebook Deals, giving customers special discounts and promotions when they 'check in' using Facebook Places.

Sales volumes up in January but pace starts to slow 31 January 2011
CBI reveals sales increase is in line with retailer expectations but that the pace of growth on the high street is slowing down.

Kirstie Allsopp and George Clarke join the ranks at B&Q 31 January 2011
TV home stars are the latest celebrities to become ambassadors for B&Q, hot on the heels of Alan Titchmarsh's partnership renewal with the DIY and gardening chain.

Thieves steal £2,500 worth of goods from garden centre 28 January 2011
Burglars escape with a horde of expensive gardening equipment in a weekend raid on Dobbies Garden World in Ponteland, Newcastle upon Tyne.

Solus wins Haskins Stewart Cup 28 January 2011
Solus Garden & Leisure has won the Haskins Stewart Cup at this year's Garden Centre Association (GCA) Awards.

Focus seeks new rent agreement 28 January 2011
Focus has "fallen short" of its predictions for 2010 after conditions proved more difficult than expected, and is now asking landlords to extend the terms of its CVA beyond March, when it is due to expire.

Sales suffer at John Lewis as consumer confidence drops 28 January 2011
John Lewis has reported a 2.2% decline in sales for the week to January 22, as UK consumer confidence suffered its biggest monthly drop in nearly 20 years.

GCA award winners 28 January 2011
This year's Garden Centre Association (GCA) award winners were announced at its annual conference on January 24-26 at Heythrop Park in Chipping Norton.

Homebase introduces five-year guarantee on hardy plant range 28 January 2011
DIY and gardening chain hopes to "inspire and reassure" customers with plant guarantee and new Chelsea Collection.

Habitat updates offer with fitted kitchens and new website 27 January 2011
Home retail chain starts the New Year with a new fitted kitchens range and relaunched website for UK, German and French customers.

Mary Portas sparks record number of wannabe mystery shoppers 27 January 2011
Retail Eyes registered nearly 10,000 mystery shoppers last weekend following the debut of the new Channel 4 series.

Retail jobs growth slows 27 January 2011
The number of full-time jobs grew by 0.6% in Q4 2010 compared with the same quarter last year, according to the latest BRC-Bond Pearce Retail Employment Monitor.

Scottish Government committee votes against retailer levy 27 January 2011
The Local Government and Communities Committee of the Scottish Parliament yesterday voted to annul the proposed large retailer levy - an outcome welcomed by the SRC.

December sees record decline in family spending power 27 January 2011
Family spending power fell by £8 per week year-on-year in December, representing the 12th month of consecutive decline, says the latest Income Tracker from Asda.

BBC One's 'Cowboy Trap' returns 26 January 2011
Programme designed to catch out 'cowboy' workmen is back for third series and presenter Clive Holland is keen to hear about the nation's building problems.

UK economy declines 0.5% 26 January 2011
The UK economy suffered a contraction of 0.5% in the fourth quarter of 2010, figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) have revealed.

Ikea recalls glass mugs due to laceration hazard 26 January 2011
Swedish retailer concerned inner walls of RUND hand made glass mugs may break when in use due to variations in thickness of glass.

Philips buys Indian appliance manufacturer 26 January 2011
Dutch consumer electrical company has acquired the assets of small appliance manufacturer Maya Appliances and its Preethi brand for an undisclosed sum.

Dobbies to sponsor Gardening Scotland 2011 26 January 2011
Tesco-owned garden centre chain will once again lend its support to national gardening and outdoor living show.

Manufacturing recovery on track but price pressures set to rise 24 January 2011
UK manufacturers see output and orders growth pick up in recent months, but look to pass on raw material costs.

Business failures drop 18% year on year 24 January 2011
The annual rate of business insolvencies in 2010 fell for the first time in two years, according to the latest Insolvency Index from Experian, an indicator of improving financial health in the UK business sector.

Johnson & Johnson Furniture in administration 24 January 2011
50 employees made redundant, as bespoke furniture manufacturer blames tough trading and advance creditor payments for its collapse.

Rutland Garden Centre up for sale after getting expansion go-ahead 24 January 2011
Rutland Garden Centre has been put on the market after the owners secured planning permission for a new £300,000 sales area.

Best Buy UK loses online md 24 January 2011
Best Buy UK online managing director deVere Forster is leaving the electricals chain two months after the launch of its transactional website.

Sales slow at JLP 21 January 2011
Sales slowed dramatically at John Lewis for the week to January 15, as the VAT rise kicked in and clearance sales came to an end.

Online sales reach record high in 2010 21 January 2011
£58.8bn spent online last year, with December sales achieving a record high in the IMRG Capgemi e-Retail Sales Index.

Le Creuset urgent product recall 21 January 2011
Cookware company issues product alert for glass lids sold used with non-stick frying pans and casserole dish, after risk of cracking is discovered.

Financial boost for garden furniture supplier 20 January 2011
Sussex-based garden furniture supplier Alexander Rose has plans to boost growth by 30% in 2011 after receiving financial backing from Clydesdale Bank.

Mary Portas reveals top 10 customer service crimes 20 January 2011
Mary Portas has listed her 10 worst customer service crimes, and says when it comes to uninformed shop assistants, "DIY shops are the worst".

Home Hardware Scotland reports best year since 1983 20 January 2011
Wholesaler sees turnover jump 20.94% in 2010, despite struggle by non-food sectors in Scotland in December.

Christmasworld set for success 20 January 2011
With 31,000 visitors expected through the doors later this month, and with both exhibitor numbers and square metres sold up on 2010, Christmasworld is set for a bigger and better 2011 show.

Wickes' new ad campaign to focus on catalogue 19 January 2011
Wickes is launching a new advertising campaign today, focusing solely on its catalogue for the first time.

Dobbies gets green lights for £8m Peterborough centre 19 January 2011
Councillors grant permission for new 50,000sq ft state-of-the art Garden World at Hampton, Peterborough.

Carphone Warehouse remains confident in Best Buy UK 19 January 2011
Carphone Warehouse has said there is "substantial opportunity" for its Best Buy UK stores within the consumer electrics market after reporting a sales rise for Best Buy Europe in its third financial quarter.

Tough market and big freeze hit Comet sales 19 January 2011
Comet parent Kesa Electrical reports slowdown in trading, as like-for-like sales fall 4% over Christmas period.

New Biz for Toolbank 19 January 2011
Dormole, one of the two companies that make up the Toolbank group, has taken a majority share in power tool distributor Biz Power Tools.

Petersham Nurseries awarded Michelin Star 19 January 2011
Richmond-based garden centre delighted as café and head chef Skye Gyngell is awarded one Michelin star.

B&Q puts customers and tradesmen in touch 18 January 2011
B&Q and retail stablemate Screwfix have joined forces to launch jobsorted.com - a brand new online directory giving homeowners access to local tradesmen.

Laminate flooring makes a comeback 18 January 2011
German firm EPLF reports second best year in its history, with demand for laminate picking up in Europe and the US.

Hillier to open £3m flagship garden centre in Eastbourne 18 January 2011
Hillier Garden Centres is nearing completion on a £3m flagship centre set to open in Eastbourne next month.

WD Bathrooms launches new website 18 January 2011
Online bathroom retailer gives site a new look for 2011, with better navigation, customer reviews and additional ranges.

Decision over Maldon retail park deferred by council 18 January 2011
The developer behind the revamp of the Blackwater Trading Estate may have to go back to the drawing board after its application was deferred at two planning committee meetings last week.

CPI inflation hits 3.7% in December 18 January 2011
ONS reports record increase in Consumer Price Index for a November to December period, with upward pressures from travel and fuel costs, while furniture and furnishings sector sees smaller price increase.

Floors-2-Go strengthened by new investment 17 January 2011
Private investor syndicate Hotbed ploughs £3.25m into flooring retailer, helping the firm's founders to restore it back to health after administration in 2008.

New homewares show for 2012 17 January 2011
A new homewares and interior accessories show is set to run alongside giftware show Top Drawer in January 2012.

Ikea posts 6% profit rise 17 January 2011
Swedish furniture giant Ikea has reported net profit growth of 6.1% to €2.7bn for the year to August 31, 2010.

Investment group acquires majority stake in Weber-Stephen 17 January 2011
BDT Capital Partners takes over majority share in new partnership with family-owned US barbecue manufacturer.

New TradePoint counters open in London 14 January 2011
B&Q is opening new TradePoint counters in four of its London locations: Wandsworth, Sidcup, Eltham and Chiswick.

Bathroom manufacturer to cut 249 jobs 14 January 2011
Bathroom manufacturer Ideal Standard has announced the closure of its Middlewich ceramics production site, which could mean the loss of 249 jobs.

Major retailers join forces against new levy 14 January 2011
Firms warn that Scottish Government's proposed large retailer levy will harm business expansion and endanger future job creation.

Home Retail profit expectations improve 13 January 2011
Home Retail Group (HRG) has revealed a better than expected performance despite "volatile trading conditions" in a Q3 interim management statement released today.

Poor Christmas trading hits Dixons profit prediction 13 January 2011
Adverse weather in the run up to Christmas reduced UK sales by 2%, while full year profit is now expected to be at the bottom end of the firm's original forecasts.

Peat-free composts still have a way to go, says Which? 13 January 2011
B&Q has come top in the latest Which? compost trials with its multipurpose compost and sowing & cutting compost being named as 'Best Buys'.

December discounts kept prices low over Christmas 12 January 2011
Shop price inflation rose just 0.1% last month, as retailers try to take the sting out of shopping for consumers and keep them spending.

Strong manufacturing growth boosts UK economy in Q4 12 January 2011
The UK economy continued growing in the fourth quarter of 2010, with a strong performance in the manufacturing sector, said the latest Quarterly Economic Survey from the British Chambers of commerce (BCC).

Luxury pet products fly off Asda's shelves 12 January 2011
Sales volumes of luxury pet food, speciality shampoos and dog mattresses up at supermarket chain this week, as pampering household animals becomes "normal part of everyday life".

Positive start for Topps 11 January 2011
Chairman Barry Bester will tell shareholders at today's agm that Topps Tiles like-for-like revenues for the first 13 weeks of its financial year increased 2.2%.

Tough trading knocks Dunelm Mill's Christmas results 11 January 2011
Homewares retailer reports 4.2% drop in sales during key Christmas trading period, resulting in 1.2% like-for-like decline in first half of 2011.

Snow made tough Christmas worse, says BRC 11 January 2011
Snow hit sales in December, but winter products outperformed for DIY retailers despite the slow month, according to new figures from the BRC/KPMG Retail Sales Monitor.

Haskins to invest £3m in new catering facilities 10 January 2011
Four-strong garden centre firm announces the development of a new 460-seater restaurant and function room at its Southampton site.

Westland disposes of bulb business 10 January 2011
Westland Horticulture has announced that it has ceased production of Unwins bulbs, transferring all trade and assets to Taylors Bulbs. Westland retains all rights to the Unwins name and brand.

High street sales remain buoyant despite icy conditions 10 January 2011
The coldest December in 100 years may have forced some shoppers to stay home but year-on-year sales growth held firm, says BDO, dropping just 0.5% in December.

UPDATE: PPG and ICI reach legal agreement 7 January 2011
The legal dispute between ICI Paints AkzoNobel and PPG regarding the latter's Johnstone's 'Best on Test' advertising campaign has been settled out of court.

Arnotts reveals €295m loss but trading improving 7 January 2011
Irish department store Arnotts has said it expects single-digit turnover growth for the year ending January 23, 2011, after suffering dramatic losses in the previous year.

Merchanting sales improve for Grafton in 2010 7 January 2011
Group reports 3% increase in merchanting sales for the year, while its DIY retailing business saw a 7% decline.

Retail and wholesale was 'least confidant sector' in Q4 6 January 2011
Economic growth will be slower than forecast next year according to the latest ICAEW/Grant Thornton UK Business Confidence Monitor (BCM).

William Sinclair doubles profit in 2010 6 January 2011
Compost and garden products supplier reports impressive year, with net debt eliminated and pre-tax profit up 100%, as consumers shun overseas travel and spend more time in the garden.

Thieves raid and set fire to garden centre premises 6 January 2011
Two men broke into and stole stock from containers at Bold Heath Garden Centre, before torching the site in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Future uncertain for Essex retail park 6 January 2011
Plans for a 10,000 sq m development in Maldon could fall flat after councillors have been advised to reject the bid.

Petersham Nurseries to open in Selfridges London 5 January 2011
Richmond-based gardening business to showcase its garden and lifestyle ranges at flagship department store in Oxford Street from January 10.

VAT rise will harm small businesses, says FSB 5 January 2011
More than 70% of SMEs expect yesterday's VAT rise to have a negative impact on their business, says a new member survey from the Federation of Small Businesses.

Retail administrations fall by 43% 5 January 2011
The number of companies falling into administration fell 35% in 2010 to 2,086, down from 3,188 in 2009, according to new research from Deloitte.

Andy Bond leaves Asda 5 January 2011
Asda chairman stepped down from his role on New Years Day, less than 12 months after his jump to the newly-created position.

Dobbies helps customers grow their own Christmas trees 4 January 2011
Tesco-owned garden centre chain gave away 25,000 tree seedlings to its customers across the UK in 2010 in a bid to encourage homegrown Christmas trees in the future.

John Lewis smashes sales record 4 January 2011
John Lewis smashed its single day's sales record during post-Christmas clearance, with sales on December 27 up 30% on the retailer's previous biggest-ever day, December 27, 2008.

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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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