Essential reading for retailers and suppliers in the home improvement market

News Archive March 2011

Brian James Furnishings in administration 31 March 2011
Tough trading conditions leads to appointment of MCR on Friday but administrators are hopeful of finding a buyer for the furniture firm.

Webbs chief exec to head start-up garden centre chain 31 March 2011
Boyd Douglas-Davies to step down from his role at Webbs after nearly 20 years to pursue new venture with The Hillview Group (THG).

Dixons issues second profit warning 31 March 2011
Electricals group Dixons Retail plc has issued a second profit warning after a poor trading performance hit by deteriorating consumer confidence.

Ikea recalls dangerous coffee maker after customers injured 30 March 2011
Swedish retailer asks customers who have a Förstå coffee/tea maker to stop using the product and bring it back to any store for a full refund, after 12 people are burnt.

Topps Tiles acquires Pilkington's brand 30 March 2011
Topps Tiles has announced the purchase of the Pilkington's Matrix ceramic wall tile brand, including all rights and remaining stock.

Obituary: Peter Cairns 29 March 2011
Toolbank man Peter Cairns, aged 60, died earlier this month of a heart attack.

Best Buy announces next two stores 29 March 2011
Best Buy will continue its UK rollout next month with two new stores - one in Bristol and one in Hayes.

Bathstore sees decline in H1 29 March 2011
Parent company Wolseley reveals trading conditions were "particularly challenging" for the bathroom retailer.

RP Hardware pursues CVA 29 March 2011
Hardware and plumbing wholesaler appoints insolvency specialist Wilson Fields to prepare a Company Voluntary Agreement (CVA) in a bid to appease creditors and continue trading.

Ironmongery Direct shortlisted for ECMOD Awards 28 March 2011
Ironmongery Direct has been shortlisted at this year's ECMOD Awards, which celebrate excellence and innovation in the catalogue and multichannel sector.

Brits' spending power declines again 28 March 2011
Asda Income Tracker reveals UK households were £11 a week worse off last month, as cost of transport and essential goods continue to rise.

FW Mason in administration 28 March 2011
Nottingham-based timber products manufacturer FW Mason entered administration on Friday after struggling with rising fuel costs and a lack of finance.

UK manufacturing in recovery despite rising commodity prices 28 March 2011
UK manufacturing remains in recovery despite price pressures remaining "intense", the CBI has said.

The Range launches first national TV ad campaign 28 March 2011
Retail chain The Range has again teamed up with actor Ricky Tomlinson to bring its first national TV ad campaign to UK screens in the run up to summer.

Power tool supplier to close 28 March 2011
Management has confirmed that Chichester-based Power Tool Factors is to close.

BRC partners Google for new Online Retail Monitor 25 March 2011
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has teamed up with Google to produce a new quarterly report which quantifies the growth of online retail traffic.

Haskins plans £12m development at Roundstone centre 25 March 2011
Haskins Garden Centres has unveiled plans for a £12m development of its Roundstone centre near Worthing, West Sussex.

Klondyke reports strong financial performance 25 March 2011
Klondyke Group has reported a rise in profit before tax of 22.3% to £4.8m for the year to September 30, 2010.

Customer service award for Homebase 25 March 2011
Homebase has been awarded The Customer Focus Award at the Institute of Customer Service's inaugural UK Customer Satisfaction Awards.

B&Q profitability drive pays off 24 March 2011
A focus on the bottom line has seen B&Q's UK and Ireland operations increase gross profit by more than 10% in the full year to January 29 2011, despite a 3.3% like-for-like sales decline.

New B&Q ad campaign to air tonight 24 March 2011
As part of B&Q's campaign to make DIY easier, the home improvement chain has launched the first of a series of new ads, which will be aired in the run up to Easter.

New sponsors for Product of the Year 23 March 2011
DIY Week is delighted to announce that retail market analyst GfK and multi-platform retail brand QVC have both joined the list of sponsors for the 2011 Product of the Year Awards.

Bennetts bought out of administration 23 March 2011
Norfolk-based electricals retailer Bennetts has been bought out of administration by Lowestoft-based Hughes Electrical.

Consumers opt for online shopping as green alternative to the high street 23 March 2011
72.9% of shoppers believe buying online to be more environmentally friendly than making a trip to the shops.

Yorkshire carpenter wins Irwin Ultimate Tradesman world final 23 March 2011
Irwin Tools has crowned carpenter and joiner Daniel Shepherd as the World's Ultimate Tradesman.

BUDGET 2011 23 March 2011
A cut in fuel duty and support for small firms and first-time buyers are welcomed by business groups.

ASA clears Scotts of Stow's 'spoof' marketing 21 March 2011
Direct mail company Scotts of Stow has successfully defended its use of a spoof form of marketing - despite advertising watchdogs receiving 12 complaints.

Small firms to be exempt from new legislation, says Cable 21 March 2011
The Government is set to review almost 22,000 business regulations as part of a drive to cut red tape, and says it will exempt small firms from new legislation for three years.

John Lewis' sales hold up against tough comparatives 18 March 2011
Electricals and home technology was the strongest category for the retailer last week, while textiles and furniture also reported increases.

New EU tile tax will push up prices, says BRC 18 March 2011
New EU taxes on Chinese ceramic tiles will push up prices for consumers and cut into retailers' margins, the British Retail Consortium warned today.

Shoppers spend £10bn online in January and February 18 March 2011
While high street retailers report tough trading conditions, online sales saw a huge increase at the start of the year, with Brits spending £79 per person in February.

Date set for Rainy Day Trust Karting Challenge 2011 18 March 2011
Don't miss out on this year's Karting Challenge event in aid of industry charity the Rainy Day Trust, taking place at the Speedkarting Arena in Warrington on Sunday, May 22.

Support for Sarum customers 17 March 2011
Welch &Tidy accelerates launch of Rex Brown online ordering and delivery service to cater to Sarum customers.

Lakeland to expand both at home and abroad 17 March 2011
Lakeland has confirmed it is set for expansion both in the UK and overseas, with two more stores planned for the Middle East.

Charity pledge from Easy Tile 17 March 2011
Easy Tile has thrown its weight behind a local fundraiser, agreeing to donate £5 to his appeal for every donation made that mentions the company name.

Wimborne Hardware to close as owner retires after 42 years 16 March 2011
Richard Edwards to close the store on March 31 after failing to find a buyer.

Argos to launch TV home shopping channel 16 March 2011
Argos is set to boost its multichannel proposition with the launch of a new home shopping channel on digital television this summer.

Allied Carpets sold to private investors 16 March 2011
Allied Carpets has been sold by retail restructuring firm Hilco to a group of private investors, according to a report in The Independent.

Direct Company hosts 2011 Supplier Awards 16 March 2011
A host of DIY, hardware and housewares suppliers were recognised for excellence in business and outstanding service to retailers at yesterday's Direct Company Suppliers Away Day.

Grosvenor wins Colour Your Life Green Community Award 15 March 2011
Garden centre on a winning streak, as it is named Garden Centre of Excellence for 11th year running and is now judged to be one of the most environmentally aware garden centres in the UK.

Ikea timber claims refuted by newspaper report 15 March 2011
Ikea is failing to tell customers about the low level of sustainable wood used in its furniture, according to a report by The Times.

Debenhams' sales steady but retailer predicts 'difficult' H2 15 March 2011
Department store chain continues push on own-bought ranges and multi-channel strategy to combat pressures in the second half of the year.

Carpetright to close seven Irish stores 15 March 2011
Carpetright is to close seven stores in Ireland after sales in the country halved over the past three years.

Theft at Isle of Wight garden centre 14 March 2011
52 bags of compost taken in raid on Springbank Nurseries in Winford at the weekend.

Government must invest in peat reduction, says HTA 14 March 2011
The Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) is calling for more Government investment to allow the UK horticulture industry to remain competitive while reducing peat usage.

Electricals retailer enters administration 14 March 2011
Norfolk-based electricals retailer Bennetts has fallen into administration, making 228 members of staff redundant.

World of Sofas bought out of administration 14 March 2011
The company, set up by former directors of the collapsed Land of Leather chain, has been saved by "similar" management team to trade under the new Riverview Furniture name.

Clifton Nurseries launches pop-up shop in Regent Street 14 March 2011
London-based garden centre teams up with fashion chain to give shoppers a taste of "tranquility", with exotic plants range on offer alongside clothing.

Mica DIY celebrates success of first 'Exchange' 11 March 2011
Mica DIY brought members and suppliers together last weekend for the Mica Exchange, a new event replacing the company's traditional annual tradeshow.

Woodthorpe Hall Garden Centres announces expansion plans 11 March 2011
Acquisition of the Yorkshire Garden Centre takes the group's total to six centres across England, with plans to purchase a further four centres over the next five years.

Exclusively Housewares celebrates a decade with a sell-out show 11 March 2011
Organisers confirm 10th Anniversary show has already sold out, with a host of new exhibitors, as well as the leading brands that have shown their support every year.

Home Retail lowers profit forecast as sales dip at Argos 10 March 2011
Home Retail Group (HRG) has lowered its profit expectations for the year to February 26, 2011, after sales at Argos dropped 3.1% during the final eight weeks of the company's financial year.

Asda to open 168 stores this year 10 March 2011
Supermarket chain set to expand with new supermarkets and Asda Living stores following acquisition of six Focus stores and approval from the OFT for Netto conversions.

Expansion set for Howdens Joinery after "outstanding" 2010 10 March 2011
Howdens Joinery announces plans to expand to 650 depots after strong 2010 performance.

EXCLUSIVE: Sarum Wholesale in administration 9 March 2011
Sarum Wholesale has confirmed to DIY Week that it has gone into administration, after trading at a loss for several months.

Profits soar 20% at JLP 9 March 2011
Profit before tax at John Lewis Partnership rose 20% to £367.9m for the year to January 29, 2011.

Government to offer 1,000 Green Deal apprenticeships 9 March 2011
At least 1,000 apprenticeships are to be offered as part of the Government's Green Deal, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Energy Secretary Chris Huhne announced at B&Q's flagship eco-store in Sutton today.

February sales worst since May 2009, says BRC 8 March 2011
The latest figures from the BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor showed total UK retail sales rose by 1.1% last month, against a 4.5% increase for the same month last year.

B&Q organises dance flash mob for Comic Relief 7 March 2011
Staff across the DIY chain's 330 stores surprised customers with an impromptu dance performance on Saturday in a bid to raise funds for charity.

Expansion plans at Tile Depot 4 March 2011
Tile Depot is set for expansion after extending its warehousing capacity by nearly 20%.

Alworths future uncertain 4 March 2011
Founder Andy Latham steps down from the board, as retailer confirms a restructuring of the business is under way.

Dobbies opens in Ashford 4 March 2011
Dobbies officially opened its brand new Garden World at Ashford, Kent today, as the company steams ahead with its ambitious expansion plans.

Memorial day to be held for Klondyke founder Bob Gault 3 March 2011
Klondyke founder and chairman Bob Gault passed away on February 15 after a long illness.

Funeral arrangements made for Bob Bickerdike 3 March 2011
The funeral for Bob Bickerdike will be held at St Mary Magdalene Church in Brampton, Cambridgeshire, on March 7 at 11.30 am.

Wickes named Britain's top DIY retailer 2 March 2011
Travis Perkins-owned chain tops the bill, with B&Q in second place, as 6,000 consumers vote for their favourite retailers in Verdict Research's annual poll.

B&Q invests £35m in new multi-channel platform 2 March 2011
Kingfisher-owned DIY chain to expand and improve multi-channel operations, with new platform that allows for launch of an m-commerce site and further developments to online next-day delivery service.

Brits afraid of basic DIY, says survey 1 March 2011
Almost a third of British people admit they find DIY shops intimidating, according to a new survey from TV channel Home.

Obituary: Ian Thompson of Barnitts 1 March 2011
Chairman of one of York's largest independent department stores and much-loved member of the community, Mr Thompson died of a heart attack while on holiday in Majorca.

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What do you think?


As Bunnings opens its largest Warehouse store to date (110,000sq ft) this week but also trials small format like a number of retailers, we ask: is there still a place for 'big box' retail stores in the UK?


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