Essential reading for retailers and suppliers in the home improvement market

News Archive July 2011

Packed church for Harrison funeral 29 July 2011
It was 'standing room only' at Charles Harrison's funeral on Thursday July 28.

GCG acquires Country Homes & Gardens 29 July 2011
The Garden Centre Group (GCG) has confirmed its acquisition of Country Homes & Gardens.

AkzoNobel becomes RDT Partner 29 July 2011
AkzoNobel has become the latest company to sign up for the Rainy Day Trust's Partnership scheme.

Dramatic drop in number of carrier bags used by shoppers 29 July 2011

Latest figures from WRAP reveal total weight of thin plastic bags used has almost halved since 2006, despite an 8% increase in retail sales volumes.


B&Q Ireland fined €250k after customer death 28 July 2011
B&Q Ireland has been ordered to pay a quarter of a million Euros following the 2009 death of a customer killed by falling fencing in one of its stores.

Store numbers increase in Q2 but staff levels continue to fall 28 July 2011
The retail sector reports 3,100 fewer jobs, compared with last year, despite a further 743 shops opening during the three month-period.

Vince Cable reveals plans to cut retail red tape 28 July 2011
The Government has announced proposals to scrap or simplify more than 160 regulations affecting retailers, in response to thousands of comments made during its Red Tape Challenge.

Spate of thefts at garden centres in St Albans 28 July 2011
Notcutts and Burston Garden Centre both targeted this month, with camping equipment and plants stolen during break-ins.

RDT charity shoot raises £7k 27 July 2011
Retailers and suppliers from across the home improvement industry took part in the annual clay pigeon shooting challenge on July 7, on behalf of industry charity the Rainy Day Trust.

SMEs spending £16.8bn a year on red tape 27 July 2011
The Forum of Private Business (FPB) has found that small firms are spending more time and money on complying with regulations, despite the Government's attempts to reduce legislation.

New home for B&Q 27 July 2011
B&Q is moving its headquarters to a brand new, eco-friendly building named B&Q House.

New Wickes ad to focus on doors 26 July 2011
Wickes has launched a new TV advert focusing on its range of more than 800 doors.

Wolseley sells Build Center to Jewson 25 July 2011
Wolseley UK has today announced that it is to sell its Build Center operations to Jewson for £145m (€165m).

TJ Hughes distribution centre closed 25 July 2011
Administrators for discount department store chain TJ Hughes have closed the firm's Liverpool warehouse distribution centre making most of the workers redundant.

Ironmongery Direct reveals strong H1 performance 25 July 2011
Ironmongery Direct has announced a 25% increase in turnover to £7.1m for the first half of 2011.

Tradepoint opens first K&B outlet 22 July 2011
B&Q's trade-only stablemate Tradepoint has opened its first dedicated Kitchen and Bathroom Warehouse at the B&Q Filton store in Bristol.

John Lewis to open mid-sized stores 22 July 2011
John Lewis has announced plans to open ten smaller-format stores to expand its presence in more locations across the UK.

Charles Harrison - funeral arrangements 22 July 2011
Charles Harrison's funeral service will take place on Thursday 28th July at 2.00pm at the St John the Evangelist Catholic Church, Wallingford OX10 0BD followed by a reception at the George Hotel on the High Street which is 100 yards from the Church.

Tough second quarter for B&Q UK 21 July 2011
B&Q UK sees like-for-like sales fall 6.7% in the 11 weeks to July 16.

QEP becomes latest RDT Partner 21 July 2011
Tiling and flooring installation tool supplier QEP-Vitrex is the latest company to sign up to the Rainy Day Trust's Partnership scheme.

Life & Style shuts a further 12 stores 21 July 2011
The administrator to fashion and homewares chain Life & Style has had to close a further 12 stores, making another 181 people redundant.

GCA reveals regional winners 21 July 2011
The Garden Centre Association has announced the winning garden centres at all eight of its regional awards presentations.

Last chance to buy H A Interiors business 21 July 2011
The future of a factory in Cramlington hangs in the balance as administrators have set a deadline of tomorrow for potential buyers to register their interest.

DIY stores failing on safety advice, says Which? 20 July 2011
Some of the UK's biggest DIY chains are selling chainsaws and lawnmowers with little or no safety advice, a Which? investigation has revealed.

B and Kew in Start initiative 20 July 2011
B&Q has announced that it will support HRH Prince of Wales' Start initiative for the second year running.

Sainsbury's launches mobile shopping site for non-food 20 July 2011
Sainsbury's has launched a mobile version of its general merchandise shopping website, allowing customers to buy home and garden products, appliances, toys, sport and leisure products on their mobile phones.

Record total for charity sale 20 July 2011
The Faversham House Group charity sale on July 1, organised by DIY Week and Housewares Magazine, was the biggest yet.

Obituary: Charles Harrison 20 July 2011
Charles Harrison, founder and managing director of CAT Enterprises, died suddenly on Tuesday July 19 after suffering a heart attack. He was 55.

Kirstie Allsopp reveals new wallpaper range for B&Q 19 July 2011
B&Q ambassador Kirstie Allsopp has designed a collection of wallpapers to be sold exclusively at the retailer from October.

MP tables bill to amend Sunday trading laws 19 July 2011
A bill to permit local authorities to temporarily vary restrictions on Sunday trading during major events is currently under discussion in the House of Commons.

Proteam bought out of administration 19 July 2011
Proteam UK has been bought out of administration by clothing and protective equipment supplier Direct Corporate Clothing, via its subsidiary business Paroh Limited.

Garden furniture and DIY among most popular retail search terms 18 July 2011
Garden furniture and DIY made the top five retail search terms in Q2 2011, while total retail search volumes grew by 27% year-on-year, the latest BRC-Google Online Retail Monitor has revealed.

Product development and sustainability to drive UK bathroom market 18 July 2011
New research on the UK bathroom market has found bathroom retailers will benefit from shifting consumer preferences toward higher value bathrooms, with product development and sustainability driving growth this year and beyond.

Clas Ohlson extends plumbing and power tool offer 18 July 2011
Swedish retailer Clas Ohlson has announced several new launches this summer, including a new own-brand power tool range and a significantly-extended plumbing offer.

GIMA winners honoured at awards dinner 18 July 2011
The Garden Industry Manufacturers Association (GIMA) named the 2011 GIMA Award winners at a black-tie dinner at Manchester's Midland hotel last week.

John Lewis launches online product reviews as web sales rise 20% 15 July 2011
John Lewis has launched product reviews on its website, with thousands of comments from both customers and staff going live on johnlewis.com yesterday.

Solus to close Newcastle depot 15 July 2011
Wholesaler Solus Garden & Leisure has announced the closure of its Newcastle depot, saying the 25,000sq ft site has become too small for the volume of stock the company now handles.

Residents fight to save local garden centre 15 July 2011
Thousands of Mill Hill residents are campaigning to save their local Wyevale garden centre.

Homebase offers £500 prize for customer reviews 14 July 2011
Homebase is offering customers the chance to win 100,000 Nectar points if they submit an online review of a product purchased at the retailer.

UK multiples closing 20 stores a day 14 July 2011
Britain's multiple retailers have closed 20 stores a day on average between January and the end of May this year, says new research from the Local Data Company.

GCG takes on management of Country Gardens 14 July 2011

The Garden Centre Group is reportedly taking on the management of Country Homes and Gardens, which trades as Country Gardens.


Topps Tiles see sales slide in Q3 13 July 2011
Topps Tiles has seen a 1.9% decrease in like-for-like revenues for the 13 weeks to July 2.

The Apprentice comes to Welch & Tidy 13 July 2011
Wholesaler Welch & Tidy welcomed contestants from 'The Apprentice' for last week's episode of the BBC TV show.

Government launches Green Deal trials with Homebase and B&Q 13 July 2011
The Government has partnered up with Homebase and B&Q for a series of trials aimed at helping people insulate their homes and reduce fuel bills.

Non-food sales show "modest improvement", says BRC 12 July 2011
Total UK retail sales went up 1.5% in June, decreasing 0.6% on a like-for-like basis - a better performance than expected after the month's spate of shop closures and administrations.

Wolseley to sell Electric Center 12 July 2011
Wolseley UK has agreed to sell its Electric Center business to electrical equipment distributor Edmundson Electrical.

Brand new event - entry open! 12 July 2011
DIY Week has announced the launch of a brand new awards event - The DIY Week Awards.

Industry jumps to charity call 11 July 2011
DIY Week's Rachael Lyon and Will Parsons are just two of the 17 individuals taking to the skies for the inaugural Rainy Day Trust tandem parachute jump on Sunday September 25th.

Garden Centre Group poised for growth as sales soar 11 July 2011
The Garden Centre Group has reported an 8% rise in sales to £152m for the six months to June 30.

Homebase interested in Homeform brands, say reports 8 July 2011
Homebase is rumoured to be interested in some of the Homeform brands which entered administration this week.

Toolbank on TV 8 July 2011
Toolbank's Christmas campaign will be bigger and better this year, with a comprehensive tv advertising campaign to drive sales instore for Toolbank customers.

Kingfisher gets OFT clearance on Focus stores 8 July 2011
B&Q parent Kingfisher has received clearance from the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) to acquire 30 Focus DIY stores.

Sharps is saved, but Homeform administration makes 557 redundant 7 July 2011
Sharps Bedrooms has been sold back to Homeform Group owner Sun European Partners, after Homeform appointed administrators Deloitte yesterday.

Full year sales rise for Dunelm Group 7 July 2011
Total sales for the full year ended July 2 2011 increased 9.3% at Dunelm Mill, though like-for-like (lfl) sales dipped 0.6% compared with an 8% lfl uplift in the previous year.

Wickes pulls News of the World advertising after phone hacking scandal 7 July 2011
DIY chain Wickes is the latest retailer to withdraw advertising from the News of the World following phone hacking allegations against the newspaper.

Liquidators acquire TJ Hughes debt 7 July 2011
GA Europe has acquired Endless' secured debt due from TJ Hughes and will work with administrators Ernst & Young to liquidate stock from the retail chain's 57 stores.

Akzo Nobel to consolidate manufacturing operations with new €110m facility 7 July 2011
The opening of a new custom-built decorative paints facility will result in the closure of Akzo's Prudhoe and Slough sites, as the firm moves all manufacturing operations to the new location in the North East.

Non-food inflation remains low 6 July 2011
Overall shop price inflation increased to 2.9% in June from 2.3% in May, according to the latest BRC-Nielsen shop price index released today.

Brits still love to garden 6 July 2011
When surveyed in spring, 76% of UK adults with access to a garden or allotment said they planned to plant or grow something in their garden this year.

Argos launches £4m ad campaign 5 July 2011
Argos has announced the launch of a £4m ad campaign designed to drive sales through its online channel.

Politicians set up with work experience placements at small businesses 5 July 2011
MPs across the UK will get a greater insight into the realities of running a small business this summer thanks to new Business Buddy scheme.

Tesco offers home insulation and double glazing 5 July 2011
Supermarket chain launches dedicated website providing customers with home surveys and installation services, including loft and cavity wall insulation, solar hot water systems and double-glazed doors and windows.

£1m Waste Prevention Loan Fund offered to businesses 4 July 2011
WRAP hopes to reduce waste at source by financially supporting firms to introduce business models and processes that make more efficient use of material resources.

Rowlands Group acquires Austen's Home Hardware 1 July 2011
The group, also a Home Hardware member, will extend its store portfolio with the addition of the three Austen's branches in Petworth, Billingshurst and Midhurst.

B&Q launches bathroom makeover app 1 July 2011
'Ask the Designer' app on B&Q's Facebook page gives homeowners the chance to have designs for their dream bathroom developed into tailored sketches, as well as the chance to win money towards the makeover.

Consumer confidence drops in June 1 July 2011
GfK NOP Consumer Confidence Index dropped four points to -25 in June, as shoppers come down from 'feel-good' May.

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