Essential reading for retailers and suppliers in the home improvement market

News Archive March 2013

Profits slump during Topps Tiles' first half 27 March 2013
In a disappointing follow up to its end of year results in September 2012, which saw sales and profits soar, Topps has reportedly lost £1.3m in underlying profit before tax.

'The town size store with village service' celebrates 125 years 27 March 2013
DIY wasn't always the name of the game for Patrick Green Ltd, which has traded from Ingatestone, in the heart of Essex, since 1888. Once upon a time, back when the business traded two doors down on the high street, villagers would go to the store for their ironmongery, timber, haulage, building and contracting... and even undertaking needs!

SAM Mouldings bags £10m Wickes deal 27 March 2013
Antrim-based manufacturer SAM Mouldings has won a £10m contract to provide Wickes with a range of products.

Exclusively Housewares becomes latest RDT partner 27 March 2013
Following the recent merger between the Rainy Day Trust and the Pottery and Glass Trades' Benevolent Fund, Exclusively Housewares has become the latest major brand to sign up as a partner of the charity.

Latest Fiskars TV ad campaign to debut tomorrow 27 March 2013
The launch on Thursday, March 28 marks the third annual TV campaign for the home and garden tool supplier's Weed Puller, which was launched on TV in 2011.

Harveys' 'table and six chairs' ad was misleading 27 March 2013
The furniture and furnishings retailer Harveys has been taken to task by the ad watchdog for misleading consumers with a sale offer.

Bad weather topples Kingfisher's crown, as B&Q sales drop 5.6% LfL 26 March 2013
Kingfisher has announced its financial results for the year to January 31, 2013, revealing a 2.4% sales drop, bringing total revenue to £10.6bn. Pre-tax profits nose-dived by 11% to £715m, while like-for-likes fell 2.9%.

Winter chill boosted wild bird care sales 25 March 2013
Wild bird care products grew by 6.8% in value and 5.5% volume between January 2012 and January 2013, according to the latest figures from GfK.

The Range launches spring/summer ad campaign 22 March 2013
Retailer's comic ads guest star Laurence Llewelyn Bowen and juxtapose The Range's offer against a host of joke DIY products.

New garden centre set to open in Lincolnshire 21 March 2013
A new, purpose-built £1m garden centre will open its doors for the first time this Saturday, in Glentham, Lincolnshire.

Wider pathway at Haskins GC boosts sales by up to 63% 20 March 2013
Over the past two months, sales of garden sundries, books, gifts and clothing have seen sales increases between 12% and 63% at the Haskins Garden Centre in Ferndown - all thanks, says MD Juilan Winfield, to a wider pathway.

The Fixer's retail expert to garden centres: 'Up your game or else' 20 March 2013
Retail expert Karl McKeever from BBC2's The Fixer has said that up to 50% of the UK's garden centres could be in serious trouble by next year if they don't up their game and make the most of crucial spring trade.

B&M Bargains sees profits surge by 43% 20 March 2013
Discount chain B&M Bargains enjoyed a spectacular 43% hike in profits last year on sales that increased by 31.5%.

The Budget 2013 attracts mixed responses 20 March 2013
A rise in personal tax allowance a year early, a 20% reduction in corporation tax, and employers' national insurance payments to be cut by £2,000 - these were just some of the key announcements made in today's Budget.

GCA and HTA call for change on 'outdated' Easter Day trading ban 20 March 2013
Horticultural associations are demanding a change in the law to let garden centres open on Easter Sunday - but garden centres say that if they must close then none should break the rules.

Apollo Housewares has best stand at Home Hardware show 19 March 2013
Apollo Housewares was named Best Display Stand at Home Hardware Southwest's spring trade show in Exeter this month.

Cuprinol launches new 'Cheer It Up!' brand identity 19 March 2013
In an attempt to move away from being seen as "just a functional solution to protecting wood," garden wood care supplier Cuprinol is launching new livery and brand identity this Month through a massive media and advertising campaign.

Miserable spring boosts mood-enhancing light products 19 March 2013
This year's cold and gloomy spring has sent sales of products that deliver uplifting sounds and light soar at a leading homewares consumer website.

Brico and Praxis man pulls out of BHETA forum 19 March 2013
Maxeda Group chief commercial officer John Colley is now unable to be a speaker at the upcoming BHETA forum, causing organisers to postpone the event.

Dobbies 'may appeal' against record sewage pollution fine 18 March 2013
Dobbies has been severely fined for allowing sewage from a Cumbrian garden centre to pollute a local waterway.

No ban for 'bee-killing' pesticides 18 March 2013
The EU failed to reach a majority vote to ban the use of three neonicotinoid pesticides labelled harmful to bees by the EFSA on Friday, after nations including the UK and Germany either abstained or opposed the proposal.

Third garden centre for Millbrook 18 March 2013
Millbrook, the Kent and Sussex-based garden centre company, is acquiring a third outlet.

Bissell supports Battersea with competition giveaway 18 March 2013
In support of Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, home cleaning expert Bissell is running a competition offering Facebook users the chance to win a collection of its products.

Bar-Be-Quick appointed distributor of Carbon Gold garden range 18 March 2013
The leading distributor of sustainable charcoal products in the UK has now been appointed as UK distributor of the Carbon Gold GroChar garden products range.

Waitrose gardening offensive 'will make us a serious player' 18 March 2013
Waitrose is launching a major new assault on the gardening market that will "significantly increase" its share of the category.

Screwfix is the most visible DIY retailer online 15 March 2013
According to a 'consumer voice index' brand barometer published by Marketing Magazine today, Screwfix scored highest in terms of online visibility among consumers, beating Homebase, Wickes and even B&Q.

Garden centres to get a helping hand tackling social media 15 March 2013
Garden centres and horticultural associations have stepped up their demand for advice on how to increase their presence on social media, and, in response, specialist PR firm Porcupine PR has launched a social media division.

Homebase sales down 4.9% LfL at year's end 14 March 2013
Home Retail Group announced its end of year trading results today, revealing a sales decline of 2.8% for Homebase's final quarter, and an overall sales slide of 5.2% for the retailer's 52 weeks to March 2, 2013.

B&Q shows how far it has come since days of illegal timber stock 13 March 2013
Following the EU Timber Regulation coming into force across the UK last week, B&Q has publicly voiced its support for the move, which bans the importation of illegal timber in the EU.

Whiteleys Garden Centre bought out of administration 13 March 2013
A private investment firm has bought Huddersfield-based Whiteleys Garden Centre out of administration, saving all 45 jobs at the retailer.

Sales of halogen and LED light bulbs rocket over winter 12 March 2013
The latest research from GfK has revealed that halogen and LED light bulbs experienced increased share of total volume sales of 63% between October 2012 and January 2013.

Millbrook Garden Centre launches rewards programme 12 March 2013
The Kent and East Sussex Millbrook Garden Centre business is this month unveiling a new loyalty programme.

Demand boost for Home Hardware promotion 12 March 2013
During April, Home Hardware retailers will collectively distribute over 1.1m Home & Garden brochures and leaflets, an increase of over 4% on the previous year.

Waitrose to open within Watford John Lewis 12 March 2013
John Lewis today announced that it is to trial a new food concept at its Watford department store.

Brico and Praxis speaker lined up for BHETA forum 12 March 2013
Delegates at the next British Home Enhancement Trades Association DIY forum will have a chance to discuss business with a key representative of the Belgian Brico and Dutch Praxis DIY multiples.

DIYer recovers after screwdriver penetrates head 11 March 2013
A DIY enthusiast is expected to make a full recovery after falling onto a screwdriver, which pierced his skull.

Warmup awarded ISO quality certification 11 March 2013
Underfloor heating manufacturer and supplier Warmup has achieved ISO 9001:2008 certification for its quality management system.

DIY staff 'are best at explaining products' 11 March 2013
Staff in DIY stores and garden centres emerge in a new survey as having the best product knowledge and being most effective in explaining product benefits to customers.

BEE UPDATE: GCG and Dobbies become latest to pull neonicotinoids from shelves 11 March 2013
The Garden Centre Group has confirmed it has banned pesticides containing neonicotinoids - chemicals which the EFSA have labelled harmful to bees - across its 129 stores. Dobbies, too, has also confirmed a ban.

Eco Technology Show expands 11 March 2013
The Eco Technology Show, designed for a London and south-east audience, is promising to be a bigger event this year.

Mica members gather in Scotland 8 March 2013
Mica DIY members and suppliers gathered for the voluntary group's Annual General Meeting and Supplier Exchange at the Dalmahoy Marriott Hotel outside Edinburgh on March 3 - the first time the group has taken its annual event north of the border.

Homebase Food on 4 sponsorship will showcase kitchens 8 March 2013
Homebase has signed a sponsorship deal with Food on 4 television programmes that will allow it to showcase a range of home enhancement products.

Wickes to stock Dulux paint offer 8 March 2013
The Travis Perkins-owned retailer, known for its policy of stocking almost entirely own-brand ranges, will now carry the Dulux paint range in its stores.

Online marketplace set up for UK nurseries 8 March 2013
Newly-launched GreenPlantSwap will act as a new location-based online marketplace to help nurseries reach gardeners via the web without the hassle of setting up their own site.

Long-term investment drives strong performance at JLP 7 March 2013
Partners will each walk away with a 17% bonus - almost nine weeks' pay - after John Lewis Partnership announced a 9.3% boost in annual gross sales, the retailer said today.

Dreams enters administration, 400 redundancies made 7 March 2013
Bed retailer dreams has entered a pre-pack administration, with 90 stores earmarked for closure and 400 jobs culled.

Henkel reports record results 7 March 2013
Adhesive and sealants firm saw sales rise 5.8% to 16,510m Euros in 2012, with operating profit up 15%

Top industry names prepare for second Global DIY Summit 7 March 2013
The second Global DIY Summit will be taking place in Rome this June, with guest speakers from the country's leading DIY and home improvement brands.

300 jobs go as Axminster Carpets succumbs to administration 6 March 2013
The historic Devon-based manufacturer Axminster Carpets finally collapsed into administration yesterday, a move which the company described as unavoidable.

February's shoppers drive retail sales to three-year high 5 March 2013
Retailers have been given a welcome confidence boost this morning with the news that last month's retail sales enjoyed the strongest growth for three years.

Waitrose setting up garden centre trial 5 March 2013
Waitrose is looking to extend its presence in the horticultural products market by trialling a small garden centre.

Debenhams sales plummet 10% during snow-hit weeks 4 March 2013
Homewares department store Debenhams suffered a significant drop in like-for-like sales during the last two weeks of January as heavy snow kept shoppers from the high street.

Camberley set for third Next Home and Garden opening 4 March 2013
Next is to take its Home and Garden format into the south east for the first time when it opens its third store later this year in Camberley.

Sterling Locks to expand following acquisition by German firm 4 March 2013
German security products producer and distributor Burg-Wachter today announced the acquisition of Sterling Locks - a deal described by the Leeds-based company as "very positive and exciting".

Home Hardware Scotland holds first ever conference 1 March 2013
The dealer-owned wholesaler celebrated its 30th anniversary with its first ever members' conference at Airth Castle Hotel over the weekend of February 23-24.

Alan Titchmarsh to develop horticultural offer at Waitrose 1 March 2013
Just weeks after his contract ended with B&Q, celebrity gardener Alan Titchmarsh has joined forces with John Lewis Partnership supermarket Waitrose to help launch new horticulture and gardening ranges.

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