Essential reading for retailers and suppliers in the home improvement market

News Archive August 2012

New kitchen comparison site compares B&Q, Homebase and Wickes 31 August 2012
The Insight Retail Group has launched kitchen-compare.com to help enable consumers to better navigate the different kitchen-buying options from the country's largest home improvement retailers.

B&Q gets a student makeover 31 August 2012
Students from Solent University recently got the chance to design four new looks to celebrate the launch of B&Q's new homes range as part of a décor competition.

DIY stores see 10% uptake in card turnover 30 August 2012
New figures have revealed that card turnover at UK DIY stores was 10% higher in Q2 2012 than the same period last year, despite an 18% drop in card turnover at small businesses in general.

Raise rates on parking, says ACS 30 August 2012
Councils should look at raising rates on out of town retailers to help high streets, according to the Association of Convenience Stores.

New look for Home Hardware Scotland 30 August 2012
Home Hardware will unveil its new logo this autumn and rolling out the look to posters, shop fronts and staff uniforms.

Woodie's DIY hit by economy and weather 30 August 2012
Sales at Grafton Group's retail operations fell 12.4% to €98.2m in the first half of the year. Operating loss at the Irish DIY and kitchens businesses soared from €0.4m to €3.5m.

The Range outlet back open hours after blaze 29 August 2012
The Southampton retailer was open for business on time last Sunday, a matter of hours after a fire that required two fire engines to extinguish hit the building.

Most independent retailers work 50+ hours a week 29 August 2012
A local shop report by the Association of Convenience Stores has revealed that small shopkeepers are among the hardest working professionals in Britain, with 60% working more than 50 hours in an average week.

M&S launches new multi-channel home format 29 August 2012
A new generation M&S store, featuring the biggest home department in the UK with 18,000 sq ft dedicated to the category, has opened at Cheshire Oaks, near Liverpool.

TradePoint launches Facebook page 29 August 2012
A new social media page which will enable tradesmen to interact directly with their local building suppliers about new products as well as the latest hints and tips from trade experts is being rolled out by TradePoint.

GCG adds charity shop concession to Kent GC 29 August 2012
Chartham Garden Centre in Kent is the latest Garden Centre Group businesses to add a charity shop concession in aid of Pilgrims Hospices.

Crown launches unique animated TV ad 29 August 2012
Paint brand creates new commercial, featuring realflow fluid simulation technology - the first animation of its kind to break into the home improvement sector - in a bid to inspire homeowners to be bolder with colour.

Olympics boosted seasonal homewares, says GfK 28 August 2012
The seasonal homewares market saw a 357% increase in value and 554% in volume year-on-year for July 2012, according to GfK.

Garden Centre passes off illegal flat as a tool shed 28 August 2012
A secret residential flat was discovered at Fourboys Garden Centre in Dursley last week, following a raid by officers from Stroud District Council who suspected all was not as it should be in the business's 'Tool Shed' building.

B&Q Cowley to close in September 28 August 2012
The DIY giant's only Oxford outlet will be closing in coming weeks as the retailer opts out of its lease renewal.

HTA Garden Futures Conference to host Barclays economist 28 August 2012
Barclay's senior economist Dr Brian Clark will be joining the line-up of speakers at this year's Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) Garden Futures Conference in London this October.

Hardware stores sidestep 40W bulb ban 28 August 2012
Retailers will be able to sidestep a ban on buying traditional 40W bulbs due to come into force in September 1.

Kingfisher boss to become BRC chairman 24 August 2012
Ian Cheshire, who has been chief executive of Kingfisher since January 2008, will be taking over from Rob Templeman as chairman of the British Retail Consortium on October 1.

Dobbies' self-investment rakes in 22% sales increase 23 August 2012
The garden centre chain has posted full-year results showing sales up from £111.9m to £136.4m for the year ending February 29, 2012.

DIY Express in Hayes closes 23 August 2012
Screwfix's DIY Express store in Hayes, which was the second of the new-format stores opened by the Kingfisher-owned retailer this Spring, has ceased trading.

GCG accused of "bully boy tactics" against farm shop 22 August 2012
A bitter row has escalated between the Garden Centre Group and Green Fields Farm Shop in Telford, Shropshire, culminating in the farm shop accusing the GCG of "corporate bullying" while the GCG claim trepass, damage and a vigorous denial of 'David and Goliath' reports.

Staff role changes at Grosvenor Garden Centre 22 August 2012
Chester's Grosvenor Garden Centre has seen a number of changes to staff following its acquisition earlier this year by Blue Diamond Group.

UK is second-biggest target of e-crime, says BRC 22 August 2012
E-crime is the most significant emerging threat to the retail sector, and UK companies are the world's second-biggest targets.

Recall for electric-shock Sealey vacuum cleaner 22 August 2012
A Sealey vacuum cleaner that can deliver an electric shock has been recalled.

Nail in the coffin for Williamson Hardware 22 August 2012
An independent hardware store in Broomhill, Sheffield, is facing extinction after its landlord received planning permission to alter the shop layout against the will of its current staff workers, who suspect they're being ousted in favour of a Sainsbury's.

Floramedia to attend Glee 2012 22 August 2012
The horticultural design and print company has announced it will be attending the upcoming Glee show at the Birmingham NEC.

Women line up for B&Q DIY classes 21 August 2012
Enrolment figures from B&Q's skills classes suggest that more and more women are tackling DIY jobs.

Independent DIY retailer faces difficulty selling 'unique store' 21 August 2012
Following a rollercoaster 37 years, Milton Keynes DIY and building supplies store Sid Telfers has been put up for sale by its eponymous owner, who is hoping to find a buyer who will continue the store's legacy for "Aladdin's cave" convenience.

Rogue trader gang targets consumers with cookware 20 August 2012
Knutsford is being targeted by a gang trying to sell bogus kitchenware direct to consumers.

Atlantic Homecare granted more time to save itself 20 August 2012
Beleaguered Irish retail chain Atlantic Homecare has been given more time by the High Court to try to turn its fortunes around.

Household goods retail sales volumes up 2% in July... 17 August 2012
...And overall retail sales volumes defied expectations of a 0.1% fall to climb 0.3% between June and July 2012 according to the latest from the Office for National Statistics.

Garden centre boosts employee numbers despite recession 16 August 2012
The Old Railway Line Garden Centre in Powys is bucking the national trend for job cuts and recruitment freeze by employing more staff this month.

Dulux trials new packaging with 70% less plastic 16 August 2012
The paint brand is continuing its sustainability drive with new eco-refill paint pouches, which it claims "offer more than 70% reduction in landfill waste" when compared with the current standard 2.5 litre can.

Catering continues to bolster garden centre sales 16 August 2012
The GCA's Barometer of Trade for July reveals that garden centres are still relying on their catering operations to boost overall sales, as other categories struggle.

Mascot makes an appearance on Big Brother 15 August 2012
Workwear brand gains exposure and reaches millions of viewers via 2012 series of Channel 5's Big Brother, as housemates don Mascot padded range for a week.

Cash mob boosts local DIY store 15 August 2012
New trend for 'cash mobbing' where customers visit a store en masse at an agreed time to spend money is gathering pace, recently boosting sales for US DIY store Crowder Bros Ace Hardware.

Shoppers camp out to get first glimpse of all-new Wilko 15 August 2012
Broadway characters from Marilyn Monroe to the Cowardly Lion and Mary Poppins entertained hundreds of visitors to the newest Wilko store in Crawley this morning, some of whom had camped out overnight to get the first look at the experimental new format.

DIY personalities hit the target at charity clay pigeon shoot 14 August 2012
More than 70 retailers, suppliers and wholesalers from the home improvement industry took part in a charity clay pigeon shoot at the Royal Berkshire shooting school recently, raising more than £7,000.

Santa Claus is coming to town - in August! 14 August 2012
A general goods retailer in Eastbourne is hosting Santa's workshop this weekend, despite forecasters predicting up to 32C heat in the seaside town.

Denby site to add garden centre and retail complex 14 August 2012
The Derbyshire site of tableware manufacturer Denby is poised for a dramatic new development that will see the addition of a garden centre, hotel, pub and retail complex.

Anti-riot shop shutters planning move scrapped by government 13 August 2012
A proposal to cut planning restrictions on retailers who want to install security shutters following the August 2011 riots has allegedly been scrapped by the government, for fear of creating "an unwelcoming environment" in towns.

Warrington will be third site for Next DIY and garden outlet 13 August 2012
Next will continue the rollout of its new DIY and garden centre format when it launches a third outlet later this year.

Wells high street indies launch joint ecommerce venture 13 August 2012
Independent stores in Wells, Somerset, are fighting back against competition from online traders by clubbing together and launching a joint ecommerce website.

Virgin Experience Days go into first garden centres 13 August 2012
A number of centres operated by The Garden Centre Group will be the first in the market to take on Virgin Experience Days concessions.

Wilko launches new 'experimental' format store 10 August 2012
Wilkinson trials new store format in Crawley, adopting 'Wilko' name and featuring multi-channel offer with click and collect service.

Dewalt launches sport radio ad campaign 9 August 2012
Power tool brand Dewalt has announced the launch of a targeted four-week campaign with the UK's biggest national commercial sports radio station, talkSPORT, to promote the launch of its 4.0Ah XR Lithium-Ion battery.

Chomette in administration 9 August 2012
London-based housewares distributor Chomette has gone into administration, though is continuing to trade.

New developments at Cardwell Garden Centre mark 50 years 8 August 2012
A Renfrewshire garden centre is marking its 50th anniversary this year with the introduction of a new customer reward card and an ecommerce website.

John Lewis plans pop-up store for Exeter 8 August 2012
John Lewis has confirmed that it hopes to open its first pop-up store.

FrogTape launches £500,000 marketing campaign 8 August 2012
The TV and marketing campaign for the painter's masking tape range will run in the lead up to Autumn and the lucrative bank holiday period.

Stunt proves Stanley level is solid as a rock 8 August 2012
Stanley has subjected its FatMax Box Beam level to a challenging aerial stunt to back up its claim that it is the strongest it has ever made.

Recall for shock-risk pond pumps and pest repeller 8 August 2012
A number of pond pumps supplied by German water garden specialist Heissner have been recalled because of a danger of electric shock.

Charity gains £10,000 from Screwfix online fund-raiser 6 August 2012
Screwfix has raised more than £10,000 in just four months for the Everyman prostate and testicular appeal.

BHETA welcomes new members 6 August 2012
New services aimed at driving member sales have been credited with a sudden influx of new additions to the British Home Enhancement Trade Association (BHETA) recently.

Fryer delivers burns, cuts and electric shocks 6 August 2012
An electric fryer that exposes users to no fewer than three different kinds of danger has been recalled.

New Glee feature will showcase industry's top products 6 August 2012
Exhibitors at next month's Glee are being invited to enter their products for a new Shop Window contest and win the chance to be specially showcased at the exhibition.

Bee swarm targets Bolton garden centre 6 August 2012
The owner of a Greater Manchester garden centre feared for the safety of customers when it was targeted by a giant swarm of bees last week.

Shop vacancy rates increase, but analysts remain hopeful 3 August 2012
Town centre vacancy rates edged back up to 14.6% in June 2012, despite analysts at the Local Data Company hoping that the number had peaked earlier this year.

Home Hardware summer brochure boosts members' profit 2 August 2012
Members of Home Hardware received a boost this week when it was revealed that this summer's brochure has exceeded last year's sales.

Robert Dyas' like-for-like store sales up 3.3% for the year 2 August 2012
The retailer's parent company Cleeve Court Holdings Ltd has released its results for the year ending March 31, 2012, revealing a turnover increase of 2.2%.

Unidentified objects mystify at hardware shop-cum-museum 2 August 2012
The owners of a Cumbrian ironmongers and hardware shop have opened up a museum at the back of the store, featuring antique anvils, plumbing tools and baking tin rollers - and two mysterious objects no one has been able to identify.

What on earth is it? 2 August 2012
One of two mysterious objects at a Cumbrian ironmongery and hardware shop-cum-museum, this object has been puzzling owners and visitors alike.

Screwfix's DIY Express: The story so far 2 August 2012
It was a landmark move for Kingfisher-owned Screwfix when the retailer opened its first dedicated DIY store in Shepton Mallet March, and sources say the small-store format is working well so far.

Slap on the wrist for Scotts' Miracle-Gro 1 August 2012
The ASA has banned an advert for a Miracle-Gro peat-free compost product because it said manufacturers The Scotts Company did not have adequate substantiation for the ad's "best by test" claims.

Flying Brands closes its last gardening business, making 16 redundancies 1 August 2012
Hot on the heals of the sale of Gardening Direct last month, Flying Brands has closed its Growing and Live Despatch Business (GLD), making sixteen Jersey-based staff members redundant.

Hunt is on for the nation's best window displays 1 August 2012
Retailers large and small are being invited to enter a nationwide competition to find Britain's best-dressed shop windows.

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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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