Essential reading for retailers and suppliers in the home improvement market

News Archive February 2011

Hardware and DIY shows poor performance in February 28 February 2011
High street sales volumes slowed sharply in February, with the hardware and DIY sector performing "particularly poorly", according to the CBI.

Two burglaries at garden centre site 28 February 2011
Thieves target Arturi's Garden Centre in Eastleigh for second time in just over a week to steal safe from aquarium concession.

BRC urges Government to ease retailer costs ahead of March Budget 28 February 2011
Retailers are already absorbing £670m of extra Government-imposed costs and must be protected from further burdens in next month's Budget, the British Retail Consortium has said today.

New report looks at Brits' behaviour online 28 February 2011
As a growing number of firms ramp up their multi-channel activities, Shoppercentric says opportunities do exist in social media and mobile commerce but that the message must be fine-tuned.

Small electricals perk up John Lewis’ sales 25 February 2011
Department store chain reported 0.4% drop last week, measured against strong results the previous year, but food prep, large electricals and gift ranges helped boost revenue.

Focus sells six stores to Asda 25 February 2011
DIY retailer has transferred leases for six outlets to supermarket chain Asda for an undisclosed sum in a bid to raise funds for further investment in the firm.

Garden Centre Group shuts down pot recycling scheme 25 February 2011
Garden centre chain closes all of its 120 drop-off points and ends "popular scheme", due to difficulties finding a company to handle the recycling process.

London ranked as top shopping capital 24 February 2011
City accounted for non-food sales of £64.2bn in 2010, beating top 21 shopping destinations in the world, including New York, Tokyo and Paris.

Record-breaking decline in family spending power continues 24 February 2011
Family spending power declined 4.7% year-on-year in January, representing the second record-breaking month in a row, according to the latest results from the Asda Income Tracker.

QVC updates mobile app to include full range 23 February 2011
The online and TV shopping channel has extended it reach with the updated app, which allows customers to shop more than 15,000 QVC products using their mobile phone.

Awards sponsor line-up confirmed 23 February 2011
Leading industry names lend their support to the Product of the Year Awards 2011, as sponsor list is confirmed.

Wickes outperforms "tough" retail market 23 February 2011
Wickes parent Travis Perkins grew its pre-tax profit by 20% to £217m last year despite a "broadly flat" market, according to its preliminary results statement released today.

B&Q lodges complaint over Homebase ad 23 February 2011
ASA rules that 'extra 15% off' statement in Homebase summer sale commercial is misleading after rival DIY chain challenges TV ad.

Asda launches premium homeware brand 23 February 2011
Elegant Living range will be available from the supermarket chain from March, with products including Egyptian cotton linen, crystal glassware and stainless steel pans at 'affordable prices'.

TPA takes over BBQ brand Outback 22 February 2011
UK barbecue brand Outback has been taken over by China-based manufacturer TPA Metals and Machinery Ltd.

Conservation groups push for peat levy 21 February 2011
Conservation groups and gardening supplier Vital Earth are calling on the Government to introduce a £1 levy on peat products bought from garden centres to encourage customers to use peat-free alternatives.

Obituary: former Kingfisher director Nigel Whittaker 21 February 2011
Former B&Q chairman and Kingfisher director Nigel Whittaker has died after a long illness, aged 62.

Obituary: Ron Hickman 21 February 2011
Ron Hickman, inventor of the Black & Decker Workmate workbench, died last week aged 78.

Tool Shop acquisition 18 February 2011
Vin Vara, owner of the nine-strong chain of Tool Shop and Houseware Centre stores in Central London, has acquired Trafalgar Lock & Key Ltd.

Home and garden leaps 56% online in January 18 February 2011
Internet sales soared 21% in January, with consumers spending £5.1bn online, according to the latest IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index.

Family-run store to close after almost two centuries 18 February 2011
Family-run pet and garden supplies retailer Frampton and Sons is set to close after 175 years.

Strong ONS January sales figures distorted, says BRC 18 February 2011
Retail sales volumes grew 5.3% year-on-year in January, according to figures released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) today.

Hozelock invests £1m in new manufacturing plant 17 February 2011
The investment in a state-of-the-art plant at Hozelock's Midpoint Park factory in Birmingham features a new injection moulding machine, set to enhance production and help achieve record delivery times.

International business boosts Kingfisher profit expectations as UK sales remain flat 17 February 2011
Kingfisher has said it expects full-year pre-tax profit to be at the top end of current analyst estimates, with flat UK sales offset by stronger performances in its international businesses.

Dunelm remains committed to store expansion 17 February 2011
Homewares retailer reports strong trading in first half and stands firm in plans to open up to 100 superstores, despite concerns over "fragile consumer confidence".

Dulux brand helps drive growth for parent firm in UK 17 February 2011
Akzo Nobel reports 9% sales increase in decorative paints category, with Dulux strengthening position in UK, despite decline in demand.

Profits soar at HSS Hire 17 February 2011
HSS Hire Service Group has reported pre-tax profits of £39m for the year to January 1, 2011, up 33% on the previous year.

Ironmongery Direct 2010 results 17 February 2011
Company remains bullish about future, with plans to quadruple turnover in just four years.

Former GCA chairman Bob Bickerdike dies 16 February 2011
Former Garden Centre Association chairman Bob Bickerdike has died aged 63 after an accident in the Alps.

TradePoint launches free next-day delivery 16 February 2011
B&Q trade venture ups its offer with free next-day site delivery on more than 600 bulk items, including bricks and blocks, cement, timber, and decking.

TV's Tommy Walsh launches price comparison site 16 February 2011
TV personality and DIY guru Tommy Walsh has today launched a shopping comparison website tailored for the construction trade and DIY enthusiasts.

Bents breaks charity record 15 February 2011
Bents Garden & Home has announced its largest ever charity total, with more than £11,000 raised for its nominated charity in 2010.

Jamie Oliver launches exclusive GYO range at Homebase 15 February 2011
Homebase is continuing to take advantage of the grow your own trend this year with the launch of a range of grow your own fruit, vegetables and herbs in collaboration with TV chef Jamie Oliver.

John Lewis set for European expansion 15 February 2011
John Lewis is set to expand into Europe with online trading, opening its website to 25 countries from June.

Shop vacancies rose to 14.5% in 2010 15 February 2011
A rise in shop vacancy rates "demonstrates the need for a retail-friendly Budget in March", the British Retail Consortium has said today.

B&Q is first to buy 100% responsibly-sourced wood 15 February 2011
B&Q has become the first major UK retailer to only buy timber products from proven responsible sources, the retailer announced today.

Deadline extended for Product of the Year 14 February 2011
Entry deadline for Product of the Year 2011 has been extended by seven days so there's still time to make sure your newest products are in the running for an award.

Nine jobs lost as Garden Centre Group closes smallest centre 14 February 2011
The Garden Centre Group is set to close its smallest centre at Church Lawford, with the loss of nine jobs.

Test-Rite UK md sells business 14 February 2011
Test-Rite UK md Dermot Mullins, who helped set up B&Q stores in Taiwan with Taiwanese parent company Test-Rite, has sold his entire share interest in the UK business back to his Taiwanese partners.

Brabantia moves into dining 14 February 2011
Best known for its range of bins, Brabantia is moving out of the kitchen and into the dining room with its latest launch - a range of casual dining products.

Small increases at John Lewis boosted by home ranges 11 February 2011
Retail chain reports a 1.2% sales increase for first week of February, as customers lean towards new home ranges, including textiles and dining.

DIY market shows "reasonable" performance in 2010 11 February 2011
The DIY products market declined by just 0.2% in value in 2010, according to a recent market update from GfK Retail and Technology UK.

Visitor numbers strong at Totally shows 10 February 2011
Totally shows organiser Brintex has confirmed another successful show, with 6,116 visitors flocking to Birmingham's NEC from February 6-8.

B&Q set to boost DIY skills among young people 10 February 2011
B&Q is launching a three-year partnership with charity UK Youth to give young people the opportunity and confidence to take on their own DIY and home improvement projects.

Show Stopper winners announced 9 February 2011
Congratulations to all the Gold and Silver winners at this year's Show Stoppers Best New Product Awards, sponsored by DIY Week and sister magazines HGR and Builders Merchants Journal.

Retailers absorb VAT rise in January 9 February 2011
Non-food inflation up by 0.2% as British Retail Consortium warns against a rates rise which could hamper recovery.

Proposed Scottish retailer levy scrapped 8 February 2011
SRC delighted as parliament vote against introduction of Large Retailer Levy but asks that the government consult retailers about proposals in future.

Non-food sales boosted in January, says BRC 8 February 2011
UK retail sales rose 2.3% on a like-for-like basis in January, although compared with a much weaker January 2010, when sales fell 0.7% due to bad weather.

The Range reaches 50 stores 8 February 2011
Home and garden retailer The Range is set to open its 50th superstore in Erdington, Birmingham, on February 25.

Screwfix launches standalone bathroom proposition 8 February 2011
New concept designed to engage both tradesmen and consumers, with first store already open in Stoke on Trent.

Steven Round in shock exit from Robert Dyas 4 February 2011
Robert Dyas has confirmed that ceo Steven Round has left the business.

Focus launches Assisted Living range 4 February 2011
DIY chain targets over 60s with new product offer to make household tasks easier, including items for the kitchen, personal care and home security.

Vergo Retail brand assets up for sale 3 February 2011
Intellectual asset specialist Metis Partners has been appointed by joint administrators MCR to sell off the brand assets of Vergo Retail, which went into administration in May last year.

Best Buy Europe ceo steps down 3 February 2011
Best Buy Europe ceo Scott Wheway has stepped down from his position to become a strategic advisor at US parent company Best Buy.

Dobbies Braehead to open tomorrow 3 February 2011
New £8m state-of-the-art garden centre at Braehead, Renfrewshire will open to the public on Friday, February 4.

Cash-strapped consumers report drop in confidence 2 February 2011
As pressures on personal budgets mount, the latest Consumer Confidence Survey reveals the proportion of people who say they have no spare cash has risen to 27%.

Buyer found for New Forest Garden Plants 2 February 2011
New Forest Garden Plants has been sold to Roundstone Nurseries after entering into administration last year.

Compere confirmed for Product of the Year 2011 2 February 2011
Award-winning comedian Adam Bloom has been confirmed as compere at this year's Product of the Year Awards in London.

Home, DIY and pet products see uplift in Q4 2 February 2011
Despite more than half of UK retailers reporting a lower performance compared with the previous year, DIY, cookshop and pet products stood out as the only sectors to see growth, according to the BHF-BSSA sales monitor.

Wickes to slash price on loft insulation 2 February 2011
Home improvement retailer will offer rolls of loft insulation at a fraction of its previous price, for the next two years, under new deal with EDF Energy.

Plans confirmed for B&Q store in Tamworth 1 February 2011
Architect practice The Harris Partnership has completed designs for a new 45,000sq ft B&Q store on Cardinal Point retail park in Tamworth.

Carpetright warns on profits as sales drop 1 February 2011
Carpetright has issued a profit warning after group sales declined 6.4% in its third financial quarter.

Crown Paints acquires independent paint merchant 1 February 2011
Decorative paint manufacturer Crown strengthens its store network with the acquisition of Yorkshire-based merchant, Newland Paint Supplies.

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