Essential reading for retailers and suppliers in the home improvement market

News Archive October 2011

John Guest represents plumbing at WorldSkills London 31 October 2011
John Guest Speedfit helped represent the UK in the plumbing skills section of the recent WorldSkills London 2011 event.

B&Q recruits celeb for Christmas opening 31 October 2011
Reality TV star Louie Spence marked the launch of Christmas ranges at B&Q's Wandsworth store, as the retailer predicts its best sellers.

Mica launches Christmas gift guide 28 October 2011
DIY co-operative offers tool gift ideas for consumers to get them spending in hardware stores this Christmas.

Home improvement sites bottom of online shops survey 28 October 2011
B&Q has been named the worst online shop by the latest Which? customer survey, closely followed by Homebase.

New distribution centre boosts Scotts deliveries 27 October 2011
Scotts Miracle-Gro has reported a sharp improvement in its delivery performance since it opened its 154,000sq ft Quattro distribution centre at Doncaster earlier this year, with logistics handled by DHL.

Expansion pays off for Leekes 27 October 2011
Independent retail chain Leekes has reported a 5.2% increase in turnover to £53.3m for the year to March 2011.

Retail jobs drop by 23,000 27 October 2011
Retail jobs declined by 23,000 in September, compared to the same month last year, according to the latest BRC-Bond Pearce Retail Employment Monitor.

John Lewis enhances multi-channel offer with free WiFi instore 26 October 2011
Retailer will provide customers with free wireless internet access in its stores across the UK and announces plans to develop a new iPhone app.

The Range revamps website 26 October 2011
The Range has updated its website to simplify the process of buying online.

Debenhams launches first-ever home catalogue 26 October 2011
Fashion and home chain Debenhams has published a home catalogue for the first time, featuring living, dining, kitchen, bed and bath and electricals products.

Vital Earth in running for national business award 26 October 2011
Peat-free compost manufacturer named as East Midlands' Business of the Year and picks up regional Sustainability Award at the BCC's annual Chamber Awards. Firm now set to compete for national UK titles and £25,000 prize.

Carpetright sales continue to fall 25 October 2011
Carpetright has reported a 5.2% decline in group sales for the 12 weeks to October 22, and warns full-year profits will be at the lower end of current expectations.

My House Group launches interiors arm 25 October 2011
My House Group, which owns a range of home improvement companies throughout the UK, has launched a new interiors division.

Garden centres should reach out to younger gardeners, says HTA 25 October 2011
Garden retailers much reach out to younger customers and embrace new technology to make the most of future sales opportunities, the HTA has said.

B&Q parent renews logistics contract 24 October 2011
Kingfisher has renewed and extended its contract with Yusen Logistics to manage its European import supply chain.

FSB urges Government to extend NICs holiday 24 October 2011
The Federation of Small Businesses is calling for a targeted VAT cut and a National Insurance Contributions (NICs) holiday for small firms as small business confidence fell by 9.6 points in Q3.

Philips to cut 4,500 jobs 21 October 2011
Electronics firm Philips is set to make 4,500 people redundant as part of a cost-cutting programme which aims to save the company €800m.

Exclusively Housewares 2012 show a sell out 20 October 2011
Just four months after the 2011 exhibition took place, show organisers Brooke House has announced that exhibition space for next year's show has already sold out.

Homeowners look to energy-saving products as heating bills rise 20 October 2011
Four in 10 people have said they would find it difficult to pay their energy bills, a new B&Q survey has revealed, as figures last week showed annual bills have now risen to £1,345 a year for the average household - nearly double the amount five years ago.

Retail theft costs UK stores £4.9bn 20 October 2011
Retail crime and administrative errors cost UK retailers £4.9bn in the year to June 2011, according to the latest Global Retail Theft Barometer.

EXCLUSIVE: Homebase announces plans for Habitat brand 20 October 2011
Home enhancement retailer will launch 800 Habitat products instore next year, including a branded paint and wallpaper range, while plans for Habitat concessions are being discussed.

Argos expands into China 19 October 2011
Argos is set to expand into China as part of a joint venture by parent company Home Retail Group and Chinese home appliance manufacturer Haier Group.

HMRC rebukes employers over tax return gaffes 19 October 2011
The taxman is urging employers to double check their PAYE paperwork after receiving incorrect returns for staff members called 'A N Other' or 'Mr Cleaner', as well as employees who are apparently more than 200 years old.

Homebase grows market share with "robust performance" 19 October 2011
Home enhancement chain reports flat sales in first half, while Home Retail Group stablemate Argos sees sales decline and 94% drop in operating profit.

Garden buildings market set for growth, says AMA 18 October 2011
The market for garden rooms and buildings (including value-added services) was worth an estimated £110m in 2010, down 14% on the previous year, according to the latest market data from AMA Research. By mid-2011, the forecasts are that the market will be down a further 5% to around £105m in 2011.

Blue Diamond buys Cheshire garden centre 18 October 2011
Group acquires family-run Fryer's Garden Centre and award-winning rose growing business in Knutsford for £2.7m.

Inflation hits 5.2% 18 October 2011
The rate of inflation in the UK rose to 5.2% in September, up from 4.5% in August, the Office for National Statistics announced this morning.

RPI could deal £350m business rates blow 18 October 2011
The latest RPI inflation figure could lead to retailers facing a damaging £350m rise in business rates next April, the British Retail Consortium has warned.

Hardware store wins fight against music licence body 18 October 2011
Hudgies Hardware in Suffolk has won an ongoing battle with music licensing body Phonographic Performance (PPL) after the company tried to make him pay for a licence he didn't need.

One in 10 retail searches now on mobiles, says BRC 17 October 2011
Online retail searches are growing as people use the internet to hunt down bargains, according to the latest BRC-Google Online Retail Monitor.

QVC raises more than £500k for charity in just three hours 14 October 2011
Shopping channel's 'Be Aware, Show You Care' broadcast saw funds roll in for charity partner Breast Cancer Care on Wednesday.

Record results for Home Bargains 13 October 2011
TJ Morris, which trades as Home Bargains, has reported record financial results, with operating profit up 24% to £59.5m for the year to June 2011.

Planters grows Garden King brand 13 October 2011
Planters Garden Centre has opened a second centre under its Garden King brand after acquiring Bradley Nurseries in Staffordshire.

Carol Paris elected as HTA president 13 October 2011
Garden & Leisure Group operations director was voted in at the HTA AGM yesterday, replacing Scotsdales Garden Centre md Caroline Owen, who stepped down from the role after two years.

Dencon takes on Commtel Innovate distribution 13 October 2011
Dencon has this week bought the UK distribution rights for the Commtel Innovate range of aerials, telecom accessories and audio accessories.

Kitchen and bathroom sales slide at Wickes 12 October 2011
Wickes has reported a 1.2% increase in delivered turnover for the 39 weeks to October 1, with like-for-like delivered sales down 0.5%.

New rules could save SMEs £600m in reporting and accountancy fees 12 October 2011
The Government is proposing to reduce financial reporting requirements for small businesses in a move which could save UK firms more than £600m every year.

B&Q launches graduate scheme 11 October 2011
B&Q is launching a new retail management graduate programme, providing on-the-job retail experience.

Golden Acres acquires garden centre in Redditch 11 October 2011
Garden group takes on Badger Nurseries in Studley for undisclosed sum - the second garden centre acquisition in Redditch in the space of a month.

AkzoNobel brings paint brands under one global identity 11 October 2011
AkzoNobel has unveiled a single global brand identity for its retail consumer paint range, entitled Let's Colour.

Wickes team completes charity Base Camp ride 11 October 2011
A team of cyclists from DIY chain Wickes have completed a punishing 520k ride to Mount Everest's Base Camp in aid of blood cancer charity Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research.

Hardy's Garden Centre gutted by fire 11 October 2011
More than 50 firefighters called in to tackle blaze on Southend Arterial Road in Upminster on Saturday.

Green DIY celebrates 20 years 11 October 2011
Sussex DIY independent Green DIY celebrated its 20th birthday on October 4, and marked the event with a special promotional weekend over the weekend of October 7-9.

Glee visitor numbers continue to decline 10 October 2011
Glee visitor numbers dropped nearly 15% this year, falling to 11,149 from 13,050 in 2010, unaudited figures released by the show's organisers have revealed.

No recovery in retail until 2013, says Verdict 10 October 2011
Verdict retail practice leader Maureen Hinton painted a gloomy picture of the DIY, garden and housewares market, forecasting that tough times will persist for the next two years before recovery in a new 'low-growth environment'.

Homewares fares better than most on high street in September 10 October 2011
The latest BDO sales tracker revealed a 4% slump on the high street in September due to the unseasonal heat, while promotions helped drive sales in the homewares sector.

Sales at John Lewis flag in hot weather 7 October 2011
Sales at John Lewis declined last week as customers enjoyed the hot weather outside rather than hitting the shops.

Lighting industry associations vote to merge 7 October 2011
Following a period of consultation with their members, the Lighting Association and Lighting Industry Federation held extraordinary annual general meetings on September 29 where members of both organisations voted to merge.

Ironmongery Direct opens new premises 7 October 2011
Ironmongery Direct officially opened its new purpose-built headquarters in Basildon, Essex yesterday.

UPDATE: Fire destroys Dunelm Mill store 7 October 2011
A Dunelm Mill store on Orchard Retail Park in Coventry has been destroyed by a large fire which broke out in the early hours of yesterday morning.

Obituary: John Dixon 7 October 2011
Garden Centre Group pays tribute to Mr Dixon, who had worked at the Croydon Purley Way Garden Centre for more than 20 years before recently passing away.

Fire breaks out at Dunelm Mill store 6 October 2011
More than 80 fire fighters are battling a large fire which broke out at the Dunelm Mill store on Orchard Retail Park in Coventry in the early hours of this morning.

LED Lenser breaks record for World's largest torch 6 October 2011
On Sunday, September 25, the company unveiled the record-breaking torch at the Night of Lights Festival in Soligen, Germany.

Q1 like-for-likes dip at Dunelm 5 October 2011
Homewares retailer Dunelm has reported a 2% dip in like-for-like sales for the first quarter of its current financial year.

Bathstore sales fall 15% 5 October 2011
Plumbers and builders merchant group Wolseley has reported a rise in revenue and profit for the year to July 31, 2011, despite its Bathstore business suffering a 15% decline in revenue.

Aggressive discounting keeps prices down in non-food sector 5 October 2011
While overall shop price inflation held fast at 2.7% last month, non-food declined from 1.4% in August to 1.3% in September, with electrical items in particular, cheaper than the same period last year.

Fermoys food festival pulls 8,000 visitors 3 October 2011
More than 8,000 people visited Fermoys Garden Centre in Newton Abbot over the weekend of September 24-25 for the annual Abbfest - which turned out to be Fermoys' most successful event ever.

Homebase launches on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube 3 October 2011
Homebase is making the move into social media today, launching pages on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Minimum wage rise puts pressure on retail jobs, says BRC 3 October 2011
The 2.5% National Minimum Wage increase which came into affect on Saturday will make it harder for retailers to maintain and create jobs, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) has warned.

Morrisons to make a move for Garden Centre Group 3 October 2011
Grocer named as one of several interested parties who have requested sale documents for the former Wyevale chain after it was put up for sale by Lloyds last month.

Reisser becomes latest RDT partner 3 October 2011
Reisser Limited has become the latest company to sign up to the Rainy Day Trust's Partnership scheme.

Trago Mills fined £200k for illegally dumping waste 3 October 2011
South-west superstore retailer Trago Mills has been fined almost £200,000 for illegally dumping and burning waste at two of its out-of-town stores in 2009.

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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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