Essential reading for retailers and suppliers in the home improvement market

News Archive May 2012

B&Q LfL sales down 11.7% for Q1, but Screwfix flourishes 31 May 2012
Bad weather was blamed for B&Q's dip in sales during the 13 weeks to April 28, falling 8.9% to £968million, a downward slide of more than 11% compared with this time last year.

Free lunch planned for Totally DIY visitors 31 May 2012
Complimentary lunches for retailer visitors, and a cap on stand size to encourage major suppliers back into the show - those are the two major initiatives planned for Totally DIY 2013.

Emulsion paint: value up, volume down 31 May 2012
According to the latest figures from GfK, 5% fewer litres of emulsion paint have been sold in the UK during the first part of 2012 compared with the same period last year, but 6% more UK pounds have been spent on it.

Nearly 40% of Brits planning to splash out on garden products this summer 31 May 2012
It's been estimated that Brits are going to spend more than £820million on celebrating the Diamond Jubilee - and according to Cuprinol, 37% will be directing their cash towards sprucing up their garden.

Homebase launches Facebook app 30 May 2012
The home improvement retailer has claimed its new app is the first of its kind within the sector, incorporating three different stages to guide users through a home DIY project.

Retail sales volumes and outlook improved in May, says CBI 30 May 2012
Furniture and carpet retailers saw a particularly strong sales increase during the month, with 72% more reporting growth than those reporting decline, according to the latest Distributive Trades Survey from the CBI.

Topps sees -4.7% LfL drop in H1 but turns corner with current trading 29 May 2012
The tiling group, which owns 299 Topps Tiles stores and 20 Tile Clearing Houses, saw like-for-like revenue for the 26 weeks ending March 31, 2012 drop by 4.7% to £86.6m, which bosses said was "in line with expectations."

Moore's Mica DIY is town's first DIY store 28 May 2012
New Mica members Eric and Margaret Moore have opened a brand new DIY store in the town of Aghagallon, County Armagh.

B&Q invests £69million in new product ranges 28 May 2012
The Kingfisher-owned retailer has announced three new major product range changes launching across its 359 stores, including a £19m capital expenditure investment in new tiling and flooring shops.

Glee to run workshops to help 2012 exhibitors 28 May 2012
A special one-day workshop aimed at showing exhibitors at this year's Glee how to optimise their show visibility will take place on June 14.

Eurocell and Yale announce lock partnership 28 May 2012
The latest range of Yale cylinder and multipoint locks will be distributed by Eurocell thanks to a new partnership between the pair.

DIY and gardening just as important as street parties over Jubilee 25 May 2012
The same number of people who will be celebrating the Jubilee weekend will opt for a spot of DIY or gardening over the long bank holiday, according to a new survey by TNS.

Wholesale DIY for a pound 25 May 2012
Discount retail giant Poundworld is launching a new wholesale website this week, selling a variety of cheap products including DIY tools, home improvement accessories and garden products to retailers.

Flying Brands' garden retailers continue to struggle 24 May 2012
Orders at the group's Gardening Direct and Growing and Live Despatch (GLD) businesses have fallen to £3.8m for the three months up to March 31 2012, compared with £5.5m over the same period last year.

Loctite announces relaunch and £5m ad campaign 24 May 2012
Henkel brand Loctite, which has been around since 1953, will be using 2012 to relaunch with a £5m advertising campaign.

Screwfix website climbs ranks, as DIY giants slip 24 May 2012
The results are in for the latest Sitemorse survey of the top 500 retail websites in Q2, and following its bottom ranking last quarter, Screwfix will be pleased to see its position raised to 414.

Tile Choice embarks on expansion plan after LfL sales climb 14% 24 May 2012
The Wolverhampton-based tiling chain has announced plans to expand its current range of 15 stores on the tail of a successful year of growth.

Chelsea successes for Homebase, Westland and Hillier 24 May 2012
DIY and garden giant Homebase bagged a Gold medal this year for its Teenage Cancer Trust garden designed by Joe Swift, while Westland's 80ft high Magical Odyssey was awarded a Silver-Gilt Flora and names Most Creative Show Garden of 2012. Meanwhile, Chelsea veteran Hillier achieved its 67th consecutive Gold medal for its very British themed Dual and the Crown exhibit.

Hosepipe ban suspended for SE gardening businesses 23 May 2012
Record rainfall during April and May means landscaping, turf and gardening businesses in the South and East of England are now exempt from the hosepipe ban for up to 28 days.

BRC reports April "washout", but household goods saw 3.6% boost 23 May 2012
New figures released by the Office for National Statistics show the sales volume for household goods retailers saw the biggest increase since January 2011, but retail overall suffered a 0.4% dip in April compared with the same time last year.

Wales GC installs solar panels to drive down energy bills 23 May 2012
The Old Railway Line Garden Centre in Powys, Wales, has recently installed a set of photovoltaic (PV) panels as part of its mass-redevelopment plan.

Prize for the best independent summer window display 22 May 2012
UK Point of Sale is calling all independent retailers to make the most of the big events this summer through their window displays, promising an iPad to the best celebratory shop-front this July.

JML launches chat show dedicated to TV shopping 16 May 2012
JML partners with ITV to launch a new retail TV format called 'The Store with JML,' – a UK first on a mainstream channel where viewers can buy products.

BHETA improves members' access to market data 15 May 2012
BHETA has partnered with Thomson Local Directories to give its members the chance to build databases specific to their requirements.

34% of UK town centres saw more empty shops in Q1 2012 than 2011... 15 May 2012
...Yet 56% saw some improvement, albeit small, compared with the same period 12 months ago, according to a review of the shop vacancy rate during 2012's first quarter by the Local Data Company.

Retail crime rate surges by 83% in two years 15 May 2012
According to the British Retail Consortium (BRC), more than 35,000 members of retail staff suffered physical or verbal abuse last year, leading the retail association to publish a new guide on what is being done - and what more it thinks should be done - to tackle the problem.

CWV sells Anaglypta wallpaper brand 15 May 2012
The British wallcovering brand, which celebrates its 125th anniversary this year, was sold to Erfurt MAV for an undisclosed sum last month.

Homebase stocks special rose for teen cancer patient 15 May 2012
A pink rose created in the memory of a teenager who lost her life to cancer aged 19 is going on general sale for the first time in Homebase stores this week.

Independent DIY stores see like-for-like sales up 3.34% in Q1 14 May 2012
DIY and hardware selling members of the British Independent Retailers Association (BIRA) reported Q1 2012 sales were up by over 3% on Q1 2011, bettering the Q4 2011's +2.9% figure.

Wickes sales marred by wet weather in Q1 14 May 2012
The retail leg of Travis Perkins Plc, including Wickes and Tile Giant, revealed a like-for-like sales drop of 5.2% during the 17 weeks to April 30, but the figure was boosted to -2.6% when counting the newly-acquired Toolstation.

GIMA Awards 2012 head for London 14 May 2012
The Garden Industry Manufacturers' Association (GIMA) is appealing to all suppliers of products which are sold, or could be sold, through any garden retail channels, DIY and/or hardware stores, builders merchants and garden centres to enter the 2012 awards.

Harvey's rapped for 'misleading' sales promotion 10 May 2012
A customer who bought a kitchen table on the final day of Harvey's '8 Day Sale' in January complained to the ASA when the furniture retailer ran a further promotion offering an additional 10% off selected products the very next day.

The Old Railway Line GC announces expansion plans 10 May 2012
A Powys-based garden centre will be expanding this summer to help cope with the growing demand from retail and catering customers.

BRC criticises Queen's Speech for upholding red tape on retail 10 May 2012
Reacting to the Queen's speech, the director general of the British Retail Consortium Stephen Robertson said the outlined policies won't allow retailers to contribute effectively to economic growth.

Northamptonshire Garden Centre to close on Jubilee Bank Holiday 10 May 2012
In what the business described as a "controversial decision", Beckworth Emporium in Mears Ashby has announced it will close its doors on Monday, June 4 and Tuesday, June 5 to allow staff to enjoy Diamond Jubilee festivities with family and friends.

Homebase and Argos raise £3m for teenage cancer charity 10 May 2012
The two Home Retail Group businesses raised the landmark amount in just 21 months, smashing through their initial fundraising target of £2.5m for the group's official partner charity Teenage Cancer Trust.

April showers hit big-ticket purchases but helped smaller homewares 9 May 2012
Retail sales value were down 3.3% like-for-like for April 2012 compared with April 2011 according to the British Retail Consortium, with the poor weather hitting outdoor products particularly hard

DIY spending drops to a record low 8 May 2012
The continued squeeze on household budgets and a subdued housing market have been blamed for the lowest level of DIY expenditure in 15 years, as revealed by a recent report by Lloyds TSB.

UPDATE: Flying Brands completes sale of online gardening businesses 4 May 2012
In a deal worth £0.8m, Garden Bird Supplies, Garden Centre Online and the Listen2 businesses have all been sold by Flying Brands to home entertainment distributor MBL Group plc.

DIY retailers lock horns for Bank Holiday business 4 May 2012
It's historically been heralded the 'Bank Holiday of DIY' and major retailers B&Q, Homebase, Wickes and even Argos are all vying for a slice of the action with promotions, deals and exclusive offers this May Day Bank Holiday.

Bayer extends TV ad campaign 3 May 2012
After Bayer's TV ads received a good reception from retailers and gardeners, the firm has decided to extend the high profile campaign and run the commercials throughout the May and Diamond Jubilee Bank Holiday weekends.

Leekes sales rocket thanks to "healthy" home improvement lines 3 May 2012
The retailer reported the strongest sales performance in over three years for its last quarter, up 10% year-on-year.

Argos initiates review of business 3 May 2012
Argos boss John Walden, who joined as managing director in February, has drafted in consultants and launched a full review of the catalogue retail chain.

Polycell launches augmented reality app 2 May 2012
Following research which revealed 47% of Brits are "put off DIY because they don't know what they're doing," the ICI brand has teamed up with augmented reality platform Aurasma to launch a free demonstration app.

Sunday Trading Laws to be suspended during Olympics 2 May 2012
A Bill to suspend the Sunday Trading Laws, which restrict opening hours to six continuous hours between 10am and 6pm, received Royal Assent in government this week, meaning all shops with relevant floor space over 280 sq m (3,000sq ft) can open longer during the London Olympics.

Olympic fears for Gorse Hill Nursery 2 May 2012
While many retailers are looking for a boost in sales from the upcoming London Olympics, a garden centre in Kent is expecting its turnover to take a hammering.

The GCA to host garden-style Olympics 1 May 2012
Garden centre and horticultural industry staff are being urged to start limbering up for a fundraising event being held at the Garden Centre Association's (GCA) annual conference in 2013.

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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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