Essential reading for retailers and suppliers in the home improvement market

News Archive August 2011

Hillier to sell Redditch centre to The Hillview Group 31 August 2011
Hillier md Andy McIndoe confirms Redditch garden centre will be under new management from early September. It is understood former Webbs chief exec Boyd Douglas-Davies' Hill View Group is behind the acquisition.

Kingfisher bid rumours surface again 31 August 2011
Shares in Kingfisher, owner of DIY chain B&Q rose sharply on Tuesday afternoon this week, on the back of rumours of a takeover.

Argos starts recruitment drive 30 August 2011
Argos is looking to recruit 12,000 extra staff to work in its stores over the Christmas period.

Brits' spending power squeezed further in July 30 August 2011
As consumer price inflation continues to outstrip earnings growth and the average family is £11 a week worse off, consumers rein in their spending and buy into own-brand ranges.

Hardware and DIY sales poor for third consecutive month, says CBI 26 August 2011
Retail sales volumes fell year-on-year in August at the fastest pace in more than a year, according to the latest CBI Distributive Trades Survey.

EHT boosts John Lewis' weekly sales 26 August 2011
Department store reports 3% uplift in sales for the week ended August 26, with fans, cooling equipment and large and small electricals selling well.

High Street Fund to help riot-hit shops 26 August 2011
A new High Street Fund has been launched by a group of UK companies and London Mayor Boris Johnson to help small businesses affected by the UK riots get back on their feet.

Topps warns on profits 25 August 2011
Topps Tiles has issued a profit warning after like-for-like sales plunged 10.4% in the first seven weeks of its fourth financial quarter.

John Lewis revamps home department 25 August 2011
John Lewis is revamping its home, electronics and menswear departments, set to launch at its Stratford City store, which opens on September 13.

Floors-2-Go in pre-pack administration buyout 25 August 2011
The Birmingham flooring firm has been acquired by a newly incorporated company headed by former Floors-2-Go directors David Vizor and Parjinder Sangha. It is the second time in three years that the firm has entered administration.

Remaining five T J Hughes stores set to close 25 August 2011
Administrator Ernst & Young has confirmed that the remaining TJ Hughes department stores will close by the end of the month after it failed to find a buyer.

GCG completes acquisition of Country Homes and Gardens 24 August 2011

The Garden Centre Group has confirmed it has completed its acquisition of Country Homes and Gardens.


New Life & Style owner to retain homewares offer 24 August 2011
New Life & Style owner Sue Townsend is set to revamp the Ethel Austin brand, and has confirmed to DIY Week that homewares will form part of the offer "where appropriate".

Buyer sought for Isle of Bute tool shop 24 August 2011
Bute Tools General Store is up for sale after 33 years' trading in the seaside town of Rothesay on the Isle of Bute, which lies in Scotland's Firth of Clyde.

Retail staff left terrified by riots 24 August 2011
BRC snapshot survey reveals more than 11,000 members of retail staff were affected by the violent disorder just over a fortnight ago, with some stuck inside shops when looters broke in.

DIY sheds and building trade join forces to fight theft 23 August 2011
UK's leading DIY firms and builders merchants have come together to tackle crime against their businesses with the creation of the DIY and Building Trade Loss Prevention Forum.

UK regions show "stark difference" in footfall 22 August 2011
Footfall fell 1% between May and July compared with the same period last year, according to the new BRC/Springboard-ATCM Footfall and Vacancies Monitor.

B&Q helps DIYers plan ahead 22 August 2011
DIY chain introduces 'Rain or Shine' weather predictor to its website, enabling users to plan their DIY or garden project for the coming Bank Holiday weekend, whatever the weather.

Another 12 TJ Hughes stores to close 19 August 2011
Ernst & Young announces scheduled closure of a further 12 TJ Hughes department stores over the coming week

Sales flat in July, says ONS 19 August 2011
The value of UK retail sales rose 4.3% in July compared with the same month last year, but sales volumes remained unchanged as consumers and retailers continued to face challenging conditions.

Wilkinson to launch premium own brand home range 18 August 2011
Wilkinson is launching an upmarket own brand range of home and kitchenware products to be rolled out from October 2011.

Riots hit footfall figures 18 August 2011
Retail footfall slumped in the capital last week as stores closed early and shoppers stayed indoors during the riots.

UPDATE: Life & Style rescued from administration 18 August 2011
Life & Style has been bought out of administration by Sue Townsend, former director of bookseller Blackwells.

CPI inflation hits 4.4% in July 17 August 2011
Consumer Price Index annual inflation was 4.4% in July, up from 4.2% in June, according to figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

BRC launches new Footfall and Vacancy Monitor 17 August 2011
The British Retail Consortium is launching a new monitor next week to report on how shopper numbers have changed year-on-year, and also reveal shop vacancy rates.

Leekes to relocate to larger Coventry store 16 August 2011
Furniture chain Leekes has agreed the terms of purchase to relocate its Bedworth store to a former Makro site on the Gallagher Business Park in Coventry.

Life & Style sale on the horizon 16 August 2011
The administrators to Life & Style say they are close to selling the fashion and home chain, created last year by Elaine McPherson from the ashes of her failed fashion chain Ethel Austin.

UK's top 50 online shops named 16 August 2011
Next overtakes Tesco in IMRG/Hitwise Hot Shops List, while DIY retailers drop down through the ranks, as last quarter's demand for outdoor living and summer ranges makes for a tough comparison.

First look: Next's new home and garden store 16 August 2011
Fashion retailer Next opened its new Shoreham superstore to the public last week. Here is a first look at the brand new format, which includes a substantial DIY and garden offer.

Riots: Man charged with starting Reeves blaze 15 August 2011
A 33-year-old man charged with starting the fire at the House of Reeves furniture store is due to appear at Croydon Magistrates' court this morning.

Bentley brooms donated to clean-up effort 15 August 2011
Bentley is offering a free broom to all those wanting to help clean up after last week's devastating riots across the UK.

TJ Hughes announces closure of nine more stores 15 August 2011
Failed department store set to shut another nine stores this month, including its Salford outlet, which was so badly damaged by recent rioting it could no longer continue trading.

Carpetright owner to help victims of Tottenham riots 12 August 2011
Carpetright owner Lord Harris of Peckham has made a donation to help those who lost their homes when his Tottenham store was burnt down in last Saturday’s riots.

Rebuilding the damage - can you help? 12 August 2011
New initiative to bring together tradesmen, architects, construction companies and others to help rebuild damaged homes and businesses following the UK riots.

New stores boost sales at Dobbies 12 August 2011
Garden centre chain Dobbies has reported an 8% increase in sales for its full year, boosted by new store openings.

Riot-hit businesses must contact insurers now, says BHETA 12 August 2011
The British Home Enhancement Trade Association (BHETA) has advised those affected by the riots to get in touch with their insurers immediately.

Woolies-style retailer celebrates first year of trading 12 August 2011
Smallworths in South Croydon will mark its first anniversary this Saturday and already has plans for a new website and refit.

66% of retail and leisure businesses hit by UK riots are independents 11 August 2011
More than 10% of the total number of retailers and leisure businesses in the UK were impacted by the recent civil unrest - a large proportion of which are independent firms.

Government sets up £20m 'high street support scheme' 11 August 2011
In the wake of the violent riots that have spread across the UK, Prime Minister David Cameron outlines measures to provide the support needed to help get shops back on their feet.

Lewis's Home Retail acquires two more TJ Hughes stores 10 August 2011
Retail arm of Benross Group takes on outlets in Widnes and Newcastle for undisclosed sum, following its acquisition of four TJ Hughes stores last week.

Retail sales see modest growth in July 10 August 2011
As the UK growth forecast is downgraded, the BRC reveals UK retail sales values rose 0.6% on a like-for-like basis last month compared with July 2010, when sales went up 0.5%.

Riots: retailers count the cost 10 August 2011
After a fourth night of rioting in the UK, with trouble spreading further north, reaching Manchester and Salford, retailers continue to count the cost of the damage.

Landmark furniture store destroyed as retailers attacked in London riots 9 August 2011
Croydon furniture store House of Reeves has been destroyed in a huge fire set off by looters in the third night of rioting across London.

Banks contemplate sale of Robert Dyas 8 August 2011
Robert Dyas board confirms that key shareholders Lloyd's and Allied Irish are in discussions with corporate vendor advisory firms but that no sale will take place until next year.

Dobbies accused of breaching planning rules 8 August 2011
Garden centre chain Dobbies has been accused of breaching planning regulations at its Livingston centre by West Lothian Council.

John Lewis gears up for second half 5 August 2011
Department store chain reports a slowdown in sales over past week but feels it is still in "good shape" as it heads into H2.

Insolvency fears highest in retail sector 4 August 2011
Eight percent of retailers fear they will become insolvent in the next year, compared with a cross-sector average of 2%, says insolvency trade body R3.

House of Fraser to open new format store 4 August 2011
Department store chain extends multi-channel reach with smaller-format store in Aberdeen but remains coy about details.

Next to open DIY and garden superstore next week 4 August 2011
Fashion chain Next opens its new superstore in Shoreham next week, offering DIY and garden products for the first time.

The Green Crusader lands at Bents 4 August 2011
Bents Garden & Home has introduced 'The Green Crusader' - its very own superhero - as part of a new environmental campaign specifically aimed at children.

Final days of TJ Hughes stores announced 4 August 2011
Administrators release dates for last day of trading for 22 TJ Hughes stores, putting 1,061 employees out of a job.

Ikea buys Scottish wind farm 3 August 2011
Ikea UK has purchased a wind farm in Aberdeenshire as part of new plans to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels.

World's first pop-up mall to open in London this year 3 August 2011
Founder of retail fashion brand Boxfresh, Roger Wade teams up with property developers to erect a shopping mall in Shoreditch using shipping containers.

TJ Hughes buyer to revive Lewis's dept store 3 August 2011
The company that has bought four TJ Hughes stores out of administration also plans to bring Liverpool department store Lewis's back to life.

Masseys bids for new £2m store 3 August 2011
Masseys DIY has submitted proposals for a new £2m store in a bid to expand the business.

Tile Depot opens 18th store 2 August 2011
Tile Depot has opened a brand new store in Newbury, Berkshire, taking the total store portfolio to 18.

Like-for-like sales improve at Carpetright 2 August 2011
Carpetright has reported a 2.3% decline in UK sales for the first quarter of its financial year, but like-for-like sales were flat (down 0.2%) against a 6% decline for the full year to April 2011.

Government scraps restrictions on town centre parking 2 August 2011
Government-imposed limits on town centre parking spaces are to be scrapped to boost struggling high streets.

Internet retailer enters garden category 2 August 2011
Online retailer Pixmania-Pro has entered the garden market with the addition of more than 100 garden tools and equipment lines to its site.

Wilkinson expands wallpaper range 1 August 2011
General merchandise retailer to change more than 30% of its offer and continue own-brand push with new coloured wallpaper collection.

K&B sales drop 13% at Wickes 1 August 2011
Wickes has seen a 2% increase in delivered revenue for the first half of 2011, despite a 13% drop in kitchen and bathroom sales as consumers scaled back big-ticket spending.

Residents lose battle to save Mill Hill Garden Centre 1 August 2011
Barnet Council has approved plans to turn Mill Hill Garden Centre into a primary school, despite protests from local residents.

Buyer found for TJ Hughes brand 1 August 2011
Lewis's Home Retail Ltd agrees to buy TJ Hughes name, website and assets of four stores for an undisclosed sum.

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