Essential reading for retailers and suppliers in the home improvement market

News Archive March 2012

Poppleton GC expansion to bring back nursery facilities 30 March 2012
The Garden Centre Group-owned business in York has been granted planning permission to significantly expand the garden centre, bring brand new nursery facilities back to the site and develop a 200-seat restaurant.

Drought-tolerant lavender is Plant of the Month 29 March 2012
The Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) has announced lavender as its chosen Plant of the Month for April.

Topps Tiles records 4.5% LFL drop in H1 28 March 2012
The UK's largest tile specialist has reported its trading update for the 26 week period ending 31 March 2012, with total revenues expected to have fallen 2.5% to around £86.9m, down 4.5% on a like-for-like basis.

BRC director Stephen Robertson confirms resignation 28 March 2012
Former B&Q marketing director Stephen Robertson has confirmed 2012 will be his fifth and final year at the helm of the British Retail Consortium.

DIY, durable goods and furniture sales show March improvement 27 March 2012
Following a disastrous start to the year, when up to 90% more DIY and hardware retailers reported sales declines than those reporting an increase, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) said the balance has now stabilised to zero for the first two weeks of March.

Bidders battle it out for Robert Dyas 26 March 2012
Reports in the press suggest at least four major firms are in talks to buy the high street chain, including value retailer Wilkinson, two unknown trade buyers and a private equity company.

Forest Garden supplies key features at Ideal Home Show 26 March 2012
The decorative garden timber manufacturer was hand picked by TV's David Domoney to supply products for a range of projects and design showcases at the show.

Garden Centre Group bought by Terra Firma for £276m 26 March 2012
After months of speculation, the UK's largest garden centre operator today confirms it has been bought by leading private equity firm Terra Firma.

Monkton Elm gives away £100 vouchers for Re-Leaf Day 23 March 2012
As part of the Garden Re-Leaf Day celebrations last week, Monkton Elm Garden and Pet Centre in Somerset hosted a charity quiz, with a grandmother of five winning the random prize draw.

RHS invites the country to Grow Your Own 23 March 2012
Today sees the launch of the annual Grow your Own campaign, with this year's theme centred around growing for taste.

Polhill Garden Centre raises £1,300 for Greenfingers 23 March 2012
The Sevenoaks-based garden centre welcomed the spring season with a buzz last week by raising £1,303.50 for Greenfingers as part of its Garden Re-Leaf Day activities.

Shop vacancy rates hit a record high in February 23 March 2012
According to the Local Data Company, the GB shop vacancy rate rose to 14.6% in February, its highest in more than three years.

The Range launches biggest ever ad campaign 22 March 2012
The home, leisure and garden retailer will be launching its spring/summer TV campaign this weekend on ITV, with a mixture of 20 second brand adverts and 10 second product adverts making it the company's biggest TV campaign to date.

B&Q UK sales down, Kingfisher up 22 March 2012
B&Q sales in the UK and Ireland were down 0.9% (-1.8% LFL) at £3.8bn in 2011/12, Kingfisher announced on March 22. Retail profit rose 10.9% at £238m, and TradePoint grew to 800,000 registered customers.

Household goods sales value suffers biggest dip in six months 22 March 2012
A report by the Office for National Statistics showed the overall value of sales had increased by 3.2% since February 2011 for retail overall, but that household goods sales decreased by 1.3% over the same period.

Jones Wholesale plans to add deliveries to c&c 22 March 2012
Far from having closed down as reported recently, Jones Wholesale of Northampton is thriving - and is planning a significant development.

Screwfix opens first DIY store 22 March 2012
Screwfix is scheduled to open its first dedicated DIY store on Saturday (March 24) at Shepton Mallet in Somerset. Named DIY Express, the 5,000sq ft store is located at the Haskins Retail Centre.

La Hacienda takes legal action against White Shores 20 March 2012
The outdoor heating supplier recently challenged White Shores over alleged design right and trade mark infringements, resulting in La Hacienda winning damages and payment of costs.

BRC welcomes 1.8% minimum wage increase 20 March 2012
The British Retail Consortium has spoken out about the 11p increase in the national minimum wage for adults, calling it a "wise move" - but added that freezing the youth rate would make minimal difference to the retail sector at large.

Dunlop announces 11% sales increase for 2011 19 March 2012
The tile adhesives and grouts manufacturer also saw a significant increase in sales of the company's levellers range, with figures showing a 38% uptake compared with 2010.

The Range owner calls for academies to train retail employees 19 March 2012
As part of a panel discussion on the Channel 4 jobs report, The Range's Chris Dawson called for the Government to subsidise academies to train people of all ages ready for a job in retail.

Catering sales boost GC revenue during February 19 March 2012
The Garden Centre Association (GCA) barometer of trade results showed an increase of 3% in the number of catering customers for member garden centres, while catering spend was up 5.5% and overall turnover increased by 6%.

Wellies get starring role in Hollywood film 16 March 2012
A pair Town & Country's wellintgon boots will make a special appearance in a new film starring Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson.

Hedgehog Gutter Brush ramps up pitch-side presence 15 March 2012
Supplier High'n'Dry will advertise its Hedgehog Gutter Brush at some of the country's highest profile sporting events this weekend.

B&Q campaign to instill home improvement pride 15 March 2012
The DIY retailer's latest Spring/Summer marketing campaign launches on TV and online next Monday with a series of vignettes aiming to improve the sense of personal achievement associated with home improvements.

Weakness in big-ticket drives Homebase LFLs down 6.5% 15 March 2012
Homebase reports tough start to 2012, as sales for the eight weeks to February 25, 2012 drop to £195m.

Dobbies opens £8m Garden World in Gillingham 14 March 2012
The new 50,000 sq ft Garden World is Dobbies' second in the Kent area following the opening of a 48,000sq ft centre in Ashford last Spring.

Tile Association announces awards shortlist 14 March 2012
The Tile Association has revealed the shortlist for the 2012 TTA Awards, set to take place next month, honouring the best of the wall and floor tile industry.

Irish DIY stores hope for a bumper St Patrick's Day 14 March 2012
DIY sales are expected to flourish over the St Patrick's and Mother's Day weekend, says Retail Ireland, the Irish Business and Employer Confederation (IBEC) group that represents the retail sector.

Smart Solar reports dramatic increase in sales to garden centres 14 March 2012
The solar garden product supplier is celebrating an "outstanding" year, as it reports a 100% increase in sales to garden centres in 2011.

Drip irrigation methods approved by water companies 14 March 2012
The Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) and Waterwise are delighted that agreement has been reached with Thames, Anglian and South East water companies to allow gardeners to use drip irrigation during the hosepipe ban.

UK wallcovering firm sold to Manchester businessman for £4.5m 14 March 2012
OMNOVA Solutions, the US-based company who owned the Muraspec wallcoverings business, has announced the sale of the UK-based business to a2e Venture Catalysts Ltd and its principal Amin Amiri, based in Manchester.

Glee organisers call time on Petindex 13 March 2012
Glee and the Pet Care Trade Association (PCTA) have decided to axe the separate pet show format in favour of integrating pet exhibitors into the main Glee show.

New £12m Haskins Garden Centre opens near Worthing 13 March 2012
More than 60 new staff members have been recruited for the new garden centre, which has been constructed over the last year on 15 acres of land previously housing commercial greenhouses alongside the original Roundstone Garden Centre.

Pets at Home and Homebase named in top 20 employers 12 March 2012
Both retailers celebrated at a recent awards ceremony, which saw Pets at Home take second place and Homebase 20th in The Sunday Times 25 Best Big Companies to Work For 2012 list.

Town & Country employee to run marathon for industry charity 12 March 2012
The gardening supplier’s area sales manager Louise Cross has pledged to raise £1,000 for Greenfingers by running the London Marathon next month dressed as a dragonfly.

DIY retailers flourishing in central Europe 8 March 2012
According to a new report by market information company PMR, the number of DIY stores in central Europe has increased by 36% in the last four years.

Second BHETA Meet the Buyer event a sell out 8 March 2012
BHETA's latest initiative with homewares and garden retailer, Robert Dyas is already fully booked with almost a month left to go before the event takes place.

Preparations under way for Independents' Day 2012 8 March 2012
Over the next four months independent retailers all over the country are being encouraged to join the Independents' Day campaign, which encourages the public to buy at least one thing from their local independent shop on July 4.

Mica members raise nearly £600 for RDT 8 March 2012
DIY Week reporter Jenni Briscoe asked Mica members to show their support for the industry charity at their annual dinner - and they did!

Heavy discounting erodes margins further in February 7 March 2012
Non-food sales remained static last month with small gains in DIY and garden, while discounts to try and stimulate growth continue to eat into retailers' margins.

Council tenants offered free DIY courses at B&Q 7 March 2012
DIY retail giant B&Q has teamed up with social housing provider Home Group in a pilot scheme aimed at improving the DIY skills of its tenants through voucher, free course and rent holiday incentives.

John Lewis parent sees profits drop by 8.7% 7 March 2012
The John Lewis Partnership's financial results for the year ending January 28, 2012, revealed the group's operating profit declined by £37.7m to £393.3m, impacted by heavy investment in store openings and new initiatives.

Grafton Group announces profit increase but DIY sales down in 2011 7 March 2012
The Irish group, which owns Woodie's DIY and Atlantic Homecare, revealed that underlying operating were profits up 13% to €54.7m for the year, but that sales in its retail division dropped by 4.7% to €219.7m.

Bolsius announces new UK distributor 6 March 2012
The candle maker and supplier has appointed Junction Eighteen as its new distributor for garden centres and retail channels.

Mica DIY Exchange receives thumbs up from delegates 6 March 2012
Mica DIY members joined some of the industry's leading suppliers for a day and evening of 'slow dating' style networking, awards and entertainment last weekend.

Stax and Halls Mica Hardware win big at 2011 Mica Awards 6 March 2012
The Mica DIY member and supplier awards, held at the Mercure Bristol Holland House hotel last weekend, saw Stax Trade Centres walk away with the Supplier of the Year award for the second year running.

Duck Tape launches new TV ad campaign 6 March 2012
Duck Tape has announced its first ever investment into an extensive TV advertising campaign in the UK.

Upbeat mood as Cologne hardware show opens 5 March 2012
There was a real buzz in the halls as Eisenwarenemesse, the biannual Cologne hardware show, opened its doors yesterday (March 4).

Toolbank buys ForgeFix 2 March 2012
Dormole, the parent company of Toolbank, has made its third acquisition in less than three years with the takeover of the fixings supplier ForgeFix

Pets at Home appoints new CEO 2 March 2012
Following the news that current CEO Matt Davies will be leaving Pets at Home after 10 years, the retailer has announced the new appointment of Nick Wood, former boss at DSG International (now Dixons Retail).

Baby python stolen from Dobbies garden centre 1 March 2012
An 18-inch long 'hatchling' python has reportedly been swiped from Dobbies Garden World in Stirling.

Klondyke gets green light for new centre at Wilmslow site 1 March 2012
Planning permission has been granted for a new garden centre at Wilmslow, following the devastating fire last June.

Garden centres broken into within hours of one other 1 March 2012
Two Westcountry garden centres 50 miles apart both fell victim to very similar-style break-ins within hours of one another last weekend.

Homebase launches multi-million pound ad campaign 1 March 2012
Today sees the release of a 40” TV commercial from the retail giant, designed to appeal to female customers, who make up 61% of what the retailer describes as “the home enhancement market.”

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