Essential reading for retailers and suppliers in the home improvement market

News Archive July 2012

LfL sales up at streamlined Carpetright 31 July 2012
Floorcovering and bed retailer Carpetright's sales fell 2.1% in the 12 weeks to July 21. But like-for-like turnover was up 1.7% due to store reductions.

Man jailed over GC raid 31 July 2012
A man has been jailed for his part in a burglary at Burford Garden Centre.

Retail managers' development programme launched 31 July 2012
The British Retail Consortium Training Academy is to launch a new retail managers' development programme this September.

DIY stores buck the gloomy retail trend 31 July 2012
Independents selling DIY/hardware and garden machinery were the two star performers in a pretty gloomy Q2 for retailers.

Rain boosts sales of weeders and shears 31 July 2012
While this year's weather has proved disastrous for many garden products, new figures show that the rain and snow have also benefited sales within certain garden categories.

Theo Paphitis bolsters Robert Dyas management team 31 July 2012
The retailer's new owner, Dragon's Den star Theo Paphitis, is strengthening his senior management team across his existing Ryman and Boux Avenue businesses as well as the newly-acquired Robert Dyas.

Fediyma signs up Rapid as member 31 July 2012
Fastening specialist Rapid is to join The European Federation of DIY Manufacturers (Fediyma) as an individual member in August.

Banks pulling financial rug from under independent stores 31 July 2012
Banks are increasingly cutting credit facilities to independent retailers. And there have been examples where banks are pushing shopkeepers to take out personal loans to cover their business lending.

Longer Sunday trading "may become the norm" 31 July 2012
A permanent relaxation of the Sunday trading laws may become inevitable sooner rather than later as the current younger generation of shoppers matures.

New identity for HTA Planting Group to appeal to youngsters 31 July 2012
The HTA Bedding Plants Group has re-named itself the HTA Seasonal Plants Group, in order to better reflect its product range to a younger generation of gardeners.

Hayes Garden World md jailed after "desperate" appeal fails 30 July 2012
The managing director of Hayes Garden World in Ambleside, Cumbria, has been put behind bars after an appeal over a drink-drive conviction failed.

Obituary: Tony Abbott 30 July 2012
The owner and founder of Devon-based Abbotts DIY, Tony Abbott, has passed away following a short illness.

Insolvencies down, but struggling retail bucks trend 30 July 2012
Insolvency figures in retail have risen sharply, and it is now one of the worst-performing business sectors.

Would-be garden centre burglars flee empty-handed 30 July 2012
Thieves who raided Andover Garden Centre were thwarted after being disturbed.

High street sales up says CBI 30 July 2012
Year on year sales and orders at high street retailers were up for the third consecutive month in July, according to the CBI. However, the business body noted that "growth slowed to a greater extent than had been expected."

Sub-standard wok and smoothie maker withdrawn 30 July 2012
Two housewares products have been recalled as they can potentially burn the user or give them an electric shock.

3mx3m table stolen from GC 30 July 2012
A massive 12-seater table was stolen in a raid at Carpenders Park Garden Centre.

Hardware retailer dies aged 103 30 July 2012
Jack Yaffe, until January, the UK's oldest retailer, has died aged 103.

Adhesives stick to DIY shop shelves 30 July 2012
Sales of DIY adhesive products had a tough time during the first six months of the year, although a rise in the value of the adhesive tapes sector provided one bright spot.

Sales up at Hobbycraft 27 July 2012
A roll out of new stores helped boost sales at Hobbycraft in the twelve months to February 19.

The ups and downs of Rapid Hardware 27 July 2012
The rollercoaster ride continues for Liverpool independent hardware retailer Rapid Hardware since moving in 2009 from its long-term Renshaw Street base to the former John Lewis department store in the heart of the city.

Wickes sales rise in H1 as new stores outperform expectations 26 July 2012
The latest half-year trading results from Wickes' parent company Travis Perkins Plc have revealed Wickes' like-for-like estate has increased its market share from 2011 levels, despite competitors "getting a greater sales benefit" from the closure of Focus DIY.

Shop numbers drop for the first time in three years, says BRC 26 July 2012
The number of shops has dropped by 0.5% over the past quarter in comparison to last year - representing 88 fewer retail outlets - according to the latest BRC-Bond Pearce retail employment monitor for Q2 2012.

Bee-friendly phlox is plant of the month for August 26 July 2012
"A quintessential cottage-garden plant" is how the Horticultural Trades Association is describing the latest plant of the month - phlox.

Garden centre sales down 11% during H1 2012 26 July 2012
The Horticultural Trades Association's latest market update has shown a depressing slump in garden trade, with May sales down 8% on last year and June up just 3%, bringing the total to -11% for the year to June 30, 2012

BHETA presidency up for grabs as John Newcomb departs 25 July 2012
The president of the British Home Enhancement Trades Association is departing the housewares industry to join the Builders Merchants Federation, leaving the future of BHETA's presidency uncertain for the time being.

Recall for electric-shock extension lead and cable 25 July 2012
An extension lead set and a brand of electric cable that can both give the user an electric shock have been recalled from the market.

Argos includes Habitat products in new catalogue 25 July 2012
Launched this week, Argos' new autumn/winter 2012 range and catalogue include Habitat products for the first time.

Fifteen more towns named as Portas Pilots 25 July 2012
Local government minister Grant Shapps today named 15 more towns and cities that will become Portas Pilots and so receive regeneration funding.

Retail and wholesale hampering UK economy recovery 25 July 2012
The latest Gross Domestic Product estimate has revealed a 0.7% drop, and despite making a 0.3% increase last quarter, the distribution, hotels and restaurant sector fell by 0.4%, with retail and wholesale held responsible for the majority of this.

Hope for "sheddies" in search of a pint 24 July 2012
A "pub shed" in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, has been crowned the 2012 Shed of the Year.

Casswells wins Home Hardware Olympic window contest 24 July 2012
Casswells in Midsomer Norton, Somerset, has scooped the first prize in Home Hardware South West's Olympic-themed window dressing competition.

June rain hammers homewares sales 23 July 2012
The wettest June on record saw the UK homewares retail market slump 26% compared with May, according to GfK.

Retail theft and fraud increase by 10% 23 July 2012
Retail theft and fraud are rising at an alarming rate but expenditure on prevention measures is falling.

Prince of Wales opens Aggbag Jubilee garden 20 July 2012
The Prince of Wales formally opened a Jubilee show garden during the East of England Show in Peterborough.

Rose is B&Q Young DIYer of the Year 20 July 2012
Rose Canham from Northamptonshire, has been awarded the title of Young DIYer of the Year by B&Q.

Kingfisher sales pick up in second quarter 19 July 2012
B&Q and Screwfix's parent company reported sales up 3.7% in current currencies, but down 0.4% like-for-like for the 10 weeks to July 7, 2012.

Home Hardware Scotland hosts Akzo Nobel training day 19 July 2012
A successful one day training event held at Home Hardware Sctoland's Ayrshire head office gave attendees a crash course in all things colour - from planning schemes to interpreting psychology and language.

Employers urged to play fair with staff during Olympics 18 July 2012
With the opening of the London Olympics just days away, employers are being reminded that flexible working arrangements and a fair approach to time off will make for a more productive workforce.

Jewson signs deal with flood defence supplier 17 July 2012
The provider of flood solutions, UK Flood Barriers, has formed an exclusive partnership with builders' merchant Jewson, which will be selling the company's Flood Angel defence products through a number of its branches.

Men jailed for operating Kent nursery cannabis factory 17 July 2012
Two men have been put behind bars for their part in running an illicit cannabis-plant factory at a Kent nursery.

Wickes backs DIY youth volunteering scheme 17 July 2012
A Volunteer It Yourself (VIY) programme involving nearly 2,000 young people aged 14 and up across the country launched last week with the backing of Wickes, which has dedicated its tradespeople to train and mentor the participants.

HTA targets young gardeners with autumn campaign 17 July 2012
"Plan it, plant it this autumn" - that's the latest message from the Horticultural Trades Association, which is hoping to tap into younger consumers' growing interest in gardening and ensure they're kept busy year-round.

BRC says rain-hit retailers are to thank for inflation fall 17 July 2012
Consumer Price Inflation (CPI) has fallen to its lowest level for two and a half years, and it's all down to price-cutting by retailers, says the British Retail Consortium.

Retailers central to future peat reduction, concludes report 17 July 2012
Retailers will play a key role in ongoing efforts to reduce the amount of peat in UK retail bagged growing media.

Sandtex TV campaign revisits the lighthouse 17 July 2012
Sandtex is running a TV campaign for the first time in 20 years with a reworking of a classic ad for its masonry paint.

Online retailers must improve provision of refund info 16 July 2012
Under a new regulation, online retailers will now have to be more rigorous when it comes to telling customers about their cancellation and refund rights - or face a prolonged wait for their money.

Rainfall shifts GC consumer focus to catering, clothing and gifts during June 16 July 2012
The more traditional categories for members of the Garden Centre Association were left in the shade last month, according to the latest Barometer of Trade (BoT) figures.

HTA gift card "has brought £0.5m of extra sales" 16 July 2012
An estimated £0.5m extra spend within the garden industry has been generated by the 10,000-plus HTA Garden Gift Cards that have been sold since the launch of the scheme at the end of last October.

Ban for pressure cooker that deforms in use 16 July 2012
Consumers are being warned about a dangerous, sub-standard pressure cooker whose lid is liable to hurtle off in use.

Gardening Direct sold for £2.8m 13 July 2012
Following months of discussions with potential buyers, Flying Brands has sold the assets of Gardening Direct to Jersey Choice Marketing Ltd for £2.875m.

Big winners at GIMA Awards 13 July 2012
Annual GIMA Awards dinner celebrates the great and good of the garden industry, with Scotts Miracle Gro bagging five awards on the night.

John Lewis' home sales flourish, but outdoor living finds life "much tougher" 13 July 2012
Workers from the John Lewis at home branches in Poole, Swindon, Croydon and Tunbridge Wells have reason to raise a glass today, as the retailer celebrated another successful week with these four the top performers.

BHETA DIY forum breaks attendance records... 13 July 2012
...As members flocked to hear the real story about Totally DIY's venue change, how Screwfix are flourishing in a struggling climate with a new store opening every 10 days, and how garden watering supplier Hozelock weathered a hosepipe ban, followed by sales-drenching floods.

British manufacturer keen to nurture home-grown talent 13 July 2012
Tool supplier and manufacturer, Insulated Tools Ltd - ITL and The Wardle Group has been appalled by the lack of training and investment received by young people and has contacted local schools and colleges to take on new apprentices.

Knauf drywallers raise £5k for youth charity 13 July 2012
A team of intrepid cyclists from Knauf Drywall recently completed a four-day, 237-mile cycle ride from its plant in Immingham near Hull to Sittingbourne where it has a factory.

BHETA's Robert Dyas day leads to multiple listings 12 July 2012
A recent 'Meet the Buyer' day organised by The British Home Enhancement Trade Association (BHETA) with garden and homewares retailer Robert Dyas has resulted in eight confirmed new listings and three more in the pipeline.

GCA announces Best in Area award winners 12 July 2012
The Garden Centre Association (GCA) has revealed the Best in Area garden centre winners at three awards presentation evenings for North Thames, South Thames and Wales and the West.

Toolbank launches biggest TV campaign yet to support Christmas promotion 12 July 2012
Tool wholesaler builds on the success of last year's Real Deals campaign with more exclusive offers and products and investment in TV, with ads hitting the screens on Sky Sports and Setanta in November and December.

Machine Mart opens 60th superstore 12 July 2012
Ipswich is the newest location for the latest Machine Mart superstore, which brought its specialist tools and machinery offering to the town last week.

What More extends an Olive Branch to needy families 12 July 2012
The plastic housewares manufacturer recently teamed up with Lancaster-based charity Olive Branch to lend a helping hand with its food bank scheme.

Theo Paphitis snaps up Dyas chain 11 July 2012
Rymans owner and star of Dragon's Den, Paphitis confirmed on Tuesday that he had acquired Robert Dyas.

Incentives and a simple new lease aim to boost high street 11 July 2012
A growing number of retail landlords resorted to offering incentives to help them let their premises last quarter, as demand continued to struggle.

Rain washes away Grafton Group retail sales 11 July 2012
Bad weather took a heavy toll on the retail side of Grafton Group's operations in the first half of the year, the business revealed in a trading update today.

Electric shock inverter is recalled 11 July 2012
An inverter that can give the user an electric shock or even catch fire has been recalled.

Red paint is sole reason to hot-foot it to Homebase 11 July 2012
In one of the more unlikely scenarios to be experienced by the DIY market, droves of fashionistas are heading to Homebase and clearing the shelves of red paint tester pots.

Tool Connection invests in new facility 10 July 2012
Laser Tools brand opens new showroom and research and development facility.

Wet weather puts dampener on June sales 10 July 2012
DIY and gardening missed out on a jump in sales during June thanks to the miserable weather.

GCA awards to reveal the cream of the crop 9 July 2012
The Garden Centre Association (GCA) is unveiling the 'Best in Area' garden centre winners at six awards presentation evenings taking place nationwide this month.

Canterbury garden centre opens Bucknalls restaurant 9 July 2012
The Kent-based business has jumped on the catering bandwagon which has taken garden centre retail by storm, working alongside the successful restaurateur to rejuvenate its catering offering.

HTA delight as last water bans go 9 July 2012
The Horticultural Trade Association expressed its "delight" as the last remaining hosepipe bans in the UK were lifted.

Coopers extends opening hours 9 July 2012
Five-strong East Anglian diy store chain Coopers has switched to seven day trading.

DIY store celebrates 50 years of trading 9 July 2012
Sheppards DIY in Coventry celebrated its 50th anniversary with open days last Saturday and Sunday.

Theo Paphitis looks set to buy Dyas 9 July 2012
Robert Dyas is keeping mum over newspaper reports that the 100-store chain is being bought by retail tycoon Theo Paphitis.

Solex outgrows its venue 6 July 2012
The Summer Outdoor Living Exhibition - which has traditionally been a firm fixture at the Telford International Centre - will be moving to the Birmingham NEC for its 2013 show.

Dunelm Mill reports "exceptional growth" due to wet weather 5 July 2012
The retailer has revealed revenue growth of 12.1% for the year ending June 30, 2012, with 3.1% like-for-like sales growth bringing its total sales to £603.7m in its cheerful trading update for Q4 and the full 52 weeks.

Mica joins the fight against crime 5 July 2012
The co-operative of DIY and hardware retailers has joined forces with Crimestoppers to help protect people's homes.

Retailers lead the way to greener goods 5 July 2012
"Truly ground-breaking" is how the head of the environment at the British Retail Consortium has described a new collaboration involving retailers and suppliers in a bid to cut the environmental footprint of the goods they deal with, from food to DIY products.

Unite inundated with claims from ex-Focus employees 5 July 2012
Trade Union Unite said its switchboards were "on meltdown", with calls "every 12 seconds", since it called on former Focus staff to get in touch and see if they are eligible for compensation.

Topps Tiles announces 2% LfL sales breakthrough for Q3 4 July 2012
Following a recent spate of disappointing revenue drops, the tiling retailer has revealed a 2.1% like-for-like increase for the 13 weeks ending June 30.

Cleaners and polishes shine as consumers make do and mend 4 July 2012
Strong value growth in sales of carpet cleaning products and furniture polishes show that consumers are willing to spend more money on products that help to protect and maintain household items that are expensive to replace.

"We need multiples" says BRC - on Independents' Day 4 July 2012
On the day shoppers are being urged to buy something from an independent store in recognition of Independents' Day, the British Retail Consortium says high streets can thrive only if they include multiples too.

Mica members take Las Vegas by storm 3 July 2012
Following their win of the Totally DIY prize draw at the trade show in February, Nibletts Mica Hardware owners Robert and Wendy Evans recently travelled to the US National Hardware Show in Las Vegas.

Retail taskforce launched to tackle town centre decline 3 July 2012
Today sees the launch of a new group that will encourage and help to secure investment in failing town centre retail premises.

Wettest June for more than a century, but not all is lost for retailers 3 July 2012
The Met office has confirmed that double the normal amount of rain has fallen over the past month, making this June the wettest since records began in 1910, but more positive forecasts for the rest of the summer means there is hope yet for retailers to cash in on outdoor products.

Hampton Court Flower Show avoids the washout 3 July 2012
Despite wet weather, which looks set to last all week, the Hampton Court Flower Show got off to a good start yesterday ready for RHS members and public who will flock to the showground from today.

New faces for Glee's garden care category 3 July 2012
With more than 80% of the floor space for the garden care sector now booked for the fast-approaching show, Glee has announced several brands making their debut at the NEC event.

Manufacturing is child's play at What More 3 July 2012
Learning about plastics and how they are moulded into household products was brought to life recently for a party of 27 school children who visited What More UK's Lancashire factory.

Concessions "weather proof" garden centre business 3 July 2012
With countless garden centres reporting adverse sales as a result of bad weather, the majority of big name concession operators currently trading from garden centres have reported more favourable conditions.

Retailer predicts doom for garden centre industry 2 July 2012
The md of online garden centre Gardening Express has said the season "is pretty much over" following months of bad weather on the tail of drought restrictions which saw garden centre sales plummet across the country.

Topps Tiles' debut 'Lab Store' hailed a "huge success" 2 July 2012
A new look 'Inspiration Centre' is one of the new interactive features of the flagship Topps Tiles store, newly opened in Milton Keynes.

Asbestos vacuum flask is withdrawn 2 July 2012
A vacuum flask is being withdrawn from the market because it is partially made with asbestos.

Annual sales up 21.6% at fast-growing Poundland 2 July 2012
Poundland's full-year sales have increased by 21.6%, as the one-price retailer continues to open new outlets.

B&Q launches energy-saving service 2 July 2012
B&Q is set to boost its green credentials with the launch of a new advice service for customers on how to save energy within the home.

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