Essential reading for retailers and suppliers in the home improvement market

News Archive May 2011

Stax buys Wishart 31 May 2011
Stax Trade Centres has announced the acquisition of Edinburgh-based wholesaler D F Wishart for an undisclosed sum.

Garden & Leisure Group growth plans backed by HSBC 31 May 2011
HSBC Corporate Banking in Bristol to provide capital facilities to gardening chain to support in further expansion of the business.

Ultimate signs as Rainy Day Trust Partner 31 May 2011
Ultimate Products has become the first housewares supplier to sign up for the Rainy Day Trust's new Partner package.

High street sales stable in May but growth remains subdued 27 May 2011
CBI quarterly Distributive Trades Survey reveals 41% of retailers saw sales volumes rise in two weeks to May 16, although durable household goods and furniture saw declines.

Sunshine brings sector uplifts says GfK 26 May 2011
The warmer weather has had a positive effect on many DIY and garden categories, according to the latest research from analysts GfK Retail & Technology.

Dobbies and Tesco team up for first joint venture 26 May 2011
£50m retail site in East Kilbride will feature Tesco supermarket and state-of-the-art Dobbies garden centre.

Locations of acquired Focus stores revealed 26 May 2011
Administrator Ernst & Young issues list of 55 stores bought by B&M Homestore, Wickes and B&Q.

Focus to close remaining stores 25 May 2011
Administrators Ernst & Young are expected to announce today the planned closure of some 120 unsold Focus stores, putting about 3,000 jobs at risk.

More shoppers to grow their own 25 May 2011
More shoppers are planning to grow their own fruit and vegetables in the coming year, according to IGD ShopperTrack research published this week.

UPDATE: Focus chain to close 25 May 2011
All Focus stock is to be liquidated and the remaining stores closed. A closing down sale started this morning.

Consumer spending power takes a tumble in April 24 May 2011
Average family £13 a week worse off, as spending power drops 7.1% and prices increase twice as fast as incomes.

Industry names out in force at Chelsea 24 May 2011
The likes of B&Q, Homebase, Hillier, Westland, Bulldog, Scotts and Bosch all had a presence at the famous flower show this year, with plenty of medals to be had.

Beales adds 19 stores in major expansion deal 23 May 2011
Anglia Regional Co-operative Society has sold its chain of Westgate department stores to Beales.

Grosvenor raises record amount 20 May 2011
Grosvenor Garden Centre in Chester has broken its own fundraising record by collecting a total of £8,000 in the past 12 months.

John Lewis weekly sales flat, with home categories "subdued" 20 May 2011
Department store chain posts 0.1% sales increase for week ended May 14 and describes market as "challenging".

B&M Retail buys 11 Focus stores 20 May 2011
Retail chain known as B&M Bargains has agreed to take on the leases of 11 Focus stores and their employees.

Retail sales up in April but household goods slide 20 May 2011
All sectors report positive year-on-year growth except household goods, with declines in both volume and value terms.

Obituary: Michael Dandy 19 May 2011
Michael Dandy, former md of builders merchants chain Gibbs & Dandy, died last month aged 56.

Garden & Leisure teams up with Waitrose for new garden centre development 19 May 2011
Redevelopment of Percy Thrower's Gardening Centre will see the addition of a Waitrose store on site.

National 'You Can Do It' rollout for B&Q 19 May 2011
B&Q is launching nine new 'You Can Do It Centres' this weekend, following the success of the first six.

Consumer confidence down but signs of stability emerge 19 May 2011
While confidence is still hovering slightly above recession levels, a modest two point decline in April suggests some stability.

DIY a job for both sexes, says new survey 18 May 2011
Findings reveal that men are no longer held responsible for tackling household DIY jobs, while picking up a paintbrush is seen by many as the easiest DIY task.

New regulations on importing plastic kitchenware 18 May 2011
From July 1, imports from China and Hong Kong must carry proof that they comply with limits on the release of harmful chemicals.

B&M Retail expresses interest in Focus stores 18 May 2011
General merchandise retailer hopes to takes on leases of "a handful" of properties occupied by collapsed DIY chain to help with its own expansion plans.

D&G owner buys fifth store 17 May 2011
Toby Roberts, owner of independent hardware shop chain D&G Hardware, has added the fifth store to his expanding portfolio of stores.

Product of Year raises £1,800 for Rainy Day Trust 17 May 2011
Industry charity the Rainy Day Trust has received a much-needed boost of nearly £1,800 thanks to the generosity of guests at last week's Product of the Year Awards, organised by DIY Week and its sister magazine Housewares.

Mary Portas to conduct review of the high street 17 May 2011
Retail guru to lead an independent review to identify what the Government can do to tackle the issue of empty shops and develop more prosperous and diverse high streets.

Wickes buys 13 Focus stores 17 May 2011
Administrator Ernst & Young confirms it has agreed to sell up to 13 stores and transfer all associated employees to the Travis Perkins-owned DIY chain for £8.4m.

2011 Product of the Year Award winners announced 16 May 2011
Gold and Silver accolades handed out to the host of industry names that triumphed at this year's awards event.

Record month at Home Hardware Scotland 12 May 2011
Home Hardware Scotland has reported a record month for April, with turnover up by 12.3%.

DIY and hardware sales see further growth 12 May 2011
Retailers in DIY and hardware sector report uplift in Q1, while furniture and floorcoverings see a return to growth.

Garden sector reports strong first quarter 12 May 2011
The latest Garden Market Update from the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) reveals a strong start to 2011, with trade across the sector up on 2010 and 2009 levels, boosted by the warm spring.

Obituary: Footprint chairman John James Jewitt 11 May 2011
Footprint Sheffield chairman John James (Jack) Jewitt has died, aged 87.

Comet to cut jobs as sales fall 15% 11 May 2011
Electricals retailer Comet has seen like-for-like sales plummet 15.2% for the fourth quarter, as the company continues to struggle in difficult economic conditions.

Update from Focus administrators 11 May 2011
Ernst & Young says it has received a "fantastic level of interest" in Focus DIY, which it is looking to sell as a going concern after the company entered administration on May 5.

Outdoor DIY and garden sales boosted by Easter sunshine 10 May 2011
Sales of DIY and garden products saw an uplift in April, helped by warm weather and Easter promotions, while homewares struggled as mindsets turned away from indoor products.

CBI lowers UK growth forecast, but says exports central to recovery 10 May 2011
The UK economy will continue to make headway in 2011, the CBI has predicted, but growth will remain sluggish, restrained by fiscal consolidation and further erosion of household spending power.

Wickes grows market share and reports 1.9% lfl sales uplift 9 May 2011
Despite a tough retail climate and weak demand in kitchen and bathroom, Wickes reported a increase in like-for-like sales and market share in the first quarter of 2011.

Q1 retail administrations see two-year high 9 May 2011
Deloitte has reported the highest number of retail administrations in two years, with a 21% increase from Q4 2010 to Q1 2011.

Sales of outdoor furniture up 400% at Ikea over Bank Holiday 9 May 2011
Spurred on by the warmer weather, customers flocked to the Swedish retailer over the May Bank Holiday weekend to stock up on garden furniture ranges.

BHETA finalises BJGF deal 6 May 2011
After three years, which saw two member votes, an EGM and the resignation of the association's ceo, The British Home Enhancement Trades Association (BHETA) has announced a final resolution to its protracted merger negotiations with the British Jewellery, Giftware and Finishing Federation (BJGF).

Poundstretcher acquires Alworths 6 May 2011
Value retailer buys collapsed Alworths chain, with 15 of its stores and majority of staff to join the Poundstretcher group.

The Range owner interested in buying Focus 6 May 2011
The Range owner Chris Dawson has expressed an interest in purchasing Focus DIY, which entered into administration yesterday.

UK interest rates held at 0.5% 6 May 2011
UK interest rates have been held at 0.5% by the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC).

Pilkington's brand is back 6 May 2011
Former Pilkington's Tiles ceo Ray Tarr is to re-launch the brand in the British market. UK manufacturing operations, however, will not re-open.

B&Q to take over 31 ex-Focus stores 6 May 2011
Parent firm announces that it has agreed to buy up to 31 leasehold properties from administrators for £23m.

QVC on the hunt for guest presenters 6 May 2011
Shopping channel looks to the industry for people with a passion for kitchenware and household products to star in demos.

Four out of ten Brits planned home improvements over Bank Holiday weekends 5 May 2011
40% of British homeowners planned to carry out DIY jobs over the recent Bank Holiday weekends, according to a new survey from HSBC.

DIY retail business lifts Grafton sales in Ireland 5 May 2011
Woodie's DIY and Atlantic Hardware contribute 4.6% growth in parent firm's retailing operations, easing declines in Ireland in Q1.

UPDATE: Focus appoints administrators 5 May 2011
Focus DIY has entered administration, appointing Ernst & Young this morning after defaulting on its credit facility and announcing its intention to file yesterday.

BHF-BSSA reveals new identity 5 May 2011
Going forward the association will now be known as the British Independent Retailers Association, or Bira.

Shop price inflation edges up 4 May 2011
Shop price inflation increased marginally to 2.5% in April from 2.4% in March, as rising food inflation outweighed slowing non-food inflation, according to the latest BRC-Nielsen Shop Price Index.

Bank Holidays boost sales 4 May 2011
Retailers and suppliers have a reported a fantastic Bank Holiday fortnight with large increases in sales as consumers enjoyed barbecue weather, time off work and a royal celebration.

Brits strive to save May Day as Bank Holiday sales soar 4 May 2011
As garden centres and the HTA report record sales over the Bank Holiday weekends, new research finds that 78% of people in England and Wales want to keep May Day in May, rather than move to another date, as proposed by ministers.

Squires buys Shoots Garden Centres 4 May 2011
Family-run garden centre chain Squire's has confirmed that it has acquired Shoots Garden Centres for an undisclosed sum.

Focus to enter administration 4 May 2011
Focus DIY has said it intends to appoint Ernst & Young as administrators, suggesting reported talks between its owner Cerberus and potential buyer GA Europe were unsuccessful.

Confidence of UK consumer businesses lags behind global trends 3 May 2011
UK consumer businesses expect to see their financial performance improve this year, but their confidence falls below the global trend, according to a new survey from KPMG International.

Silverhills Nursery victim of arson attack 3 May 2011
Fire at garden centre in Kibblesworth, Gateshead, which caused around £30,000 worth of damage, may have been started deliberately.

Squires to buy Shoots Garden Centres 3 May 2011
Family-run garden centre chain acquires Shoots for undisclosed sum.

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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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