Essential reading for retailers and suppliers in the home improvement market

News Archive February 2014

Scotts and Solus to unite in 2014 28 February 2014
Leading garden brand The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company and wholesaler Solus Garden & Leisure have revealed plans that would see the businesses join forces in the UK.

Carl Kammerling celebrates strongest sales in seven years 28 February 2014
2013 was a milestone year for the hand tools and security supplier, who reported a significant increase in sales thanks to a number of marketing-led and sales driven initiatives.

Building firms should be required to take on apprentices, say homeowners 28 February 2014
Travis Perkins has conducted a survey among homeowners, which reveals what consumers think about apprentices and training.

Good year for Travis Perkins but Wickes' profit dips 27 February 2014
Growing activity in the housing market delivered a good year for builder's merchant and DIY group Travis Perkins, but investment in pricing proved a drag on profits at its Wickes business.

High street sales grow again for ninth consecutive month 27 February 2014
Despite the wet weather in recent months, retailers experienced rapid growth in sales in the year to February, beating all expectations.

Homebase launches 2014 outdoor living collection and slashes cost of specimen plants 27 February 2014
Homebase has added more than 100 pieces of furniture, garden accessories, pots and planters to its outdoor living range for this year.

Bathroom retailer Victoria Plumb rapped by ASA 26 February 2014
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned Victoria Plum, trading as Victoria Plumb, from showing a misleading advert from its Autumn Savings Event again.

Family-run hardware store opens for business 26 February 2014
Two brothers have opened Lea Road Hardware in Penn Fields, Wolverhampton because they claimed the community desperately needed a hardware store after the closure of three others in the area.

GCA garden centres see outdoor plant sales rise 26 February 2014
Even though much of the UK was hit by rain and wind at the beginning of the year, a milder start to 2014 has seen outdoor plant sales rise by 41% at GCA garden centres when compared to last year.

Expansion planned for Garden King garden centre 25 February 2014
Garden King garden centre in Newhall has revealed plans for expansion that will include a brand new restaurant.

RSPB cuts ribbon on Millbrook's refurbished hide 25 February 2014
A crowd of bird enthusiasts attended the official opening of a newly-refurbished bird hide at Millbrook Garden Centre near Gravesend earlier this month.

Former Woodie's CEO to be honoured at European DIY forum 25 February 2014
The boards of EDRA and fediyma have announced that Ray Colman, the ex-chief executive officer of Woodie's DIY Ireland, will receive the European Home Improvement Lifetime Award.

Don't miss out on the Housewares Conference 25 February 2014
Tickets for The Housewares Conference & Innovation Awards 2014 are selling fast and delegates are being urged to book a place now to avoid disappointment.

Future for United Carpets looks bright as trading is better than expected 25 February 2014
United Carpets has reported that like-for-like sales rose by 5.4% year-on-year in the first 21 weeks of the second half of its financial year.

Almost half of consumers have used click-and-collect 25 February 2014
The growing popularity of click-and-collect is highlighted in a new survey, which shows that 45% of consumers now say they have used it in the past year for their online purchases.

Cherry Lane acquires Lowestoft garden centre 24 February 2014
QD Group has expanded its portfolio of Cherry Lane Garden Centres with the acquisition of Early Dawn Nurseries near Lowestoft in Suffolk.

Totally shows give the market a boost 24 February 2014
This year's Totally DIY and Totally Tools shows have provided an industry boost, following visits from key retailers, a bigger show with plenty of fresh content and positive messages from industry commentators about the future.

Wickes sets up charity tool trade-in 24 February 2014
Wickes has launched a charity tool trade-in across its UK stores to enable customers to recycle any tool in return for a discount.

Millbrook Garden Centre wins visit from David Domoney 24 February 2014
Millbrook Garden Centre's Gravesend branch has won a visit from ITV gardener David Domoney as part of Garden Re-Leaf weekend.

HTA opposes suggested levy on non-native plant imports 24 February 2014
The HTA has come out in opposition of a suggested levy on non-native plant imports, claiming it could be seen as a tax on gardening and UK production.

The Garden Centre Group awards promotion firm five-year contract 21 February 2014
The Garden Centre Group has selected marketing company SpaceandPeople a five year contract to exclusively manage commercialisation activity across its 135 centre portfolio.

New cafe technology could improve sales 21 February 2014
Garden centres looking to improve their customer service and sales in their restaurants and cafes should be embracing new technology, according to industry experts.

National Nest Box Week gets backing from Birstall 20 February 2014
Birstall Garden Centre in Leicester has been encouraging its customers to get involved with National Nest Box Week (NNBW) this week to help give homes to breeding birds in time for spring.

Mica takes sell-out conference to Wales 20 February 2014
Mica is to take its annual conference weekend, Mica Exchange, to Wales for the first time over the weekend of March 22-23.

B&Q manager who stole from store escapes jail 20 February 2014
The manager of a West Midlands B&Q store has received a suspended prison sentence after systematically stealing goods from the outlet and then selling them on.

Loss-making Garden King garden centre to close 20 February 2014
Planters is calling time on its Garden King garden centre in Bradley, Staffordshire, and closing it down on March 30.

DIY Week Awards celebrates Gold wins 19 February 2014
A great night was had by all at the 2014 DIY Week Awards on Monday, with plenty of celebrations all round, as the likes of Yale, Bosch and Westland took home Gold awards, along with multiple and independent retailers - from Screwfix to Bristol's Cotham Hardware.

Glee 2014 almost fully-booked, with seven months still to go 19 February 2014
More than 75% of floorspace at the Garden and Leisure Exhibition has already been booked up ahead of its opening at the NEC, Birmingham on September 14.

BRC puts forward 'ground-breaking' ideas for rates reform 18 February 2014
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) today announced what it describes as "a range of ground-breaking ideas for the complete reform of the UK business rates system".

New Product Award winners announced at Totally Shows 17 February 2014
A host of suppliers were honoured yesterday at a special reception for the New Product Awards at this week's Totally DIY and Totally Tools Shows.

Strong sales lead to signs of recovery in garden centre sector 14 February 2014
The end of 2013 saw garden centre sales 6% above those in 2012, with December sales alone up 6%, and consumer confidence is now at its highest level for six years.

Dunelm to expand furniture ranges 14 February 2014
Dunelm is set to expand its furniture ranges as it seeks to expand the business following positive half-year results posted in January.

Survey reveals top electrical bodge jobs 14 February 2014
A survey has found the most common DIY blunders that electricians get called out to fix - the top two responses involved lighting.

Barclays supports expansion plans at Bents 14 February 2014
Bents Garden & Home has secured an £8m term loan facility with Barclays to support the continued growth of the business.

B&Q sees tidal wave of flood-protection sales 13 February 2014
Sales of flood-protection products have soared at B&Q, and staff at its store in Reading - one of the areas severely hit by flooding - were yesterday filling and handing out free sandbags to anyone who needed them.

Government pledges tax concessions for flood-stricken retailers 13 February 2014
The government has pledged to ease the plight of flood-hit retailers with a series of measures, including a limited period of relief on their business rates.

B&Q unveils Spring Summer collection 12 February 2014
B&Q has begun stocking its seasonal home and garden ranges for Spring Summer 2014, this year pushing innovation, ease of use and British design.

Napoleon expands further into Europe 12 February 2014
Wolf Steel Group, manufacturer of Napoleon products, announces the acceleration of its strategic plans in Europe, expanding both in the Netherlands and Austria.

Retail sales growth best for four years 12 February 2014
Total retail sales had a real spring in their step in January, putting on the strongest growth since March 2010.

Webbs recognised for its customer service 11 February 2014
Webbs Garden Centre in Wychbold has been recognised as a business of customer service excellence by the National Skills Academy for Retail.

Jobs could be under threat at Endsleigh Garden & Leisure 11 February 2014
Jobs could be lost at Endsleigh Garden & Leisure in Ivybridge, near Plymouth, following a proposed review of its management and staffing structure.

New research counts financial and personal cost of DIY 11 February 2014
Nine out of 10 householders have a go at DIY in their homes - but end up shelling out over £150 a year getting botched jobs fixed by professionals.

Dobbies withdraws policy on charging charities to use retail space 11 February 2014
Dobbies has withdrawn its plan to charge charities for using space on its shop floors to collect donations after it was questioned over it.

Paint sales up for eighth month in a row 10 February 2014
Sales in UK construction and manufacturing were up 7% year-on-year in Q4 of 2013 and the decorative and industrial coatings sectors also performed well.

Van Hage dismisses rumours about it closing down 10 February 2014
Van Hage Garden Centre has made an announcement following speculation that the business might be closing down and the company said these claims are untrue.

Shop vacancies fall but north-south divide persists 10 February 2014
Last year saw the number of retail and leisure premises vacancies drop from 12.6% to 12.2%, but there remains a widening gap in the fortunes of towns in the north and the south.

Retirement forces closure of Lincolnshire hardware store 10 February 2014
A Lincolnshire hardware independent has closed its doors for the last time, with the long-time owners now heading for retirement.

Research reveals renewed confidence in the retail sector 6 February 2014
Britain's retail businesses are gearing up for a positive 2014, as reflected by at least four months of strong optimism about the economy, according to recent findings.

New scheme to encourage suppliers to support Garden Re-Leaf Day 5 February 2014
The organisers of Garden Re-Leaf Day have revealed a simple way to enable garden product and plant suppliers to get involved before the big day.

Homebase LED bulbs energy saving claims were misleading 5 February 2014
Homebase has been taken to task by the ad watchdog for misleading consumers over how much they could save on bills by buying LED lighting.

BHETA: 'HRG rebate demand not conducive to good relationships' 5 February 2014
The British Home Enhancement Trade Association (BHETA) says a new demand by Homebase and Argos for an extra 2% turnover rebate from suppliers is "contrary to our efforts with major retailers, which is to work together".

New GCA chair plans to reinvigorate the regions 4 February 2014
The Garden Centre Association's (GCA) new chairman has pledged to rejuvenate the organisation's regional groups.

Speculation over B&M Stores moving into Bodmin, Cornwall 4 February 2014
There have been reports of a possible new B&M store opening in Bodmin in Cornwall that could create 75 jobs in the local area.

John Lewis to sponsor Commonwealth Games 3 February 2014
John Lewis has been unveiled as the Official Department Store Provider of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Alesha Dixon is the face of Teal, 2014's Colour of the Year 3 February 2014
Dulux has named celebrity Alesha Dixon as the face of its annual Colour of the Year campaign.

Family-run DIY shop fears new competition 3 February 2014
Family-run DIY business, D&G Short, in Flitwick, Bedfordshire, is under threat following plans for an expansion of the local Tesco store.

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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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