Essential reading for retailers and suppliers in the home improvement market

News Archive April 2014

Fire forces temporary closure of hardware shop 30 April 2014
A hardware independent in Eastbourne has had to shut down temporarily after a fire broke out on the premises last week.

United Carpets ad rapped over free fitting claim 30 April 2014
A United Carpets TV ad has been deemed to be misleading because it did not make it clear that there was a condition attached to free carpet fitting.

Carpertright reopens after being torched during London riots 30 April 2014
Nearly three years after being completely gutted by fire during riots that hit London in August 2011, the Carpetright store in Tottenham has reopened.

Strong first quarter boosts Next's full-year forecast 30 April 2014
Next said today that it should achieve better-than-expected sales and profit this year after a strong performance in its first 13 weeks.

Homebase grows LFL sales by 6% in 2013 30 April 2014
Parent company Home Retail Group beats benchmark pre-tax profit predictions, as Homebase and Argos both post positive sales growth and ramp up digital side of the business.

More garden products face supply crisis over timber shortage 30 April 2014
The timber shortage that has caused fencing supply to dry up is so severe that the problems are now likely to extend to other categories such as garden buildings.

What More wins Queen's Award for Enterprise 30 April 2014
What More UK, the UK's largest manufacturer of plastic housewares, storage and garden products, has been awarded the prestigious Queen's Award for Enterprise in International Trade 2014 - the highest accolade in business success.

Gardman donates products to local animal charity 29 April 2014
Pet care products supplier Gardman is donating £16,000 worth of pet care products to its local animal charity, Wood Green.

Head office expansion and new flagship store for The Range 28 April 2014
A head office expansion and creation of a state-of-the-art flagship store for The Range in Plymouth will bring in 700 jobs to the area.

Bayer reports strong sales for start of gardening season 25 April 2014
Bayer Garden is celebrating a very strong start to the season, says the company, performing ahead of the market in its key product categories and gaining market share across the board.

Family-owned Napoleon is named as one of Canada's best managed companies 25 April 2014
Manufacturer of gourmet grill products, Napoleon, has been selected out of 250 companies as one of Canada's best managed companies.

B&Q closes to become an Aldi supermarket 25 April 2014
The B&Q store in Ore has closed and will be knocked down to make way for multi-million pound supermarket chain Aldi.

Next spreads further into home improvement with opening of first Bedshop 24 April 2014
Fashion retailer Next has opened its first standalone Home & Garden store in Cribbs Causeway Retail Park, Bristol, with the addition of its first-ever Bedshop.

BHETA warns of new fraud operation 24 April 2014
After one if its members was defrauded of more than £2,000, the British Home Enhancement Trade Association has called on suppliers to be extra vigilant about invoicing queries.

Strong first quarter for Travis Perkins and Wickes 24 April 2014
Travis Perkins reports strong sales growth for the first quarter of 2014 ending March 31, with like-for-like sales up by 12.7%.

Screwfix ranks first in customer satisfaction survey 24 April 2014
In a survey of more than 5,800 people, Screwfix tops the DIY category in terms of customer satisfaction.

Retailers flock to Madrid for the third Home Improvement Forum 23 April 2014
The event in Madrid is set to be attended by 120 ceo's and senior executives from more than 50 home improvement companies from all over the world.

Which? awards Resolva Bug Killer Gardening 'Best Buy' status 23 April 2014
Consumer organisation Which? handed Resolva Bug Killer the Gardening 'Best Buy' status after the product came out on top in tests against 10 other ready to use products.

First-ever TV ad for Wilko is ship shape 23 April 2014
Value retailer Wilko has launched its first-ever series of TV ads which feature a crew of pirates trying to get one up on a rival ship by decorating theirs with Wilko products.

Homeowners increase spending on DIY during Easter 23 April 2014
Data released by Visa shows that homeowners spent 6% more in DIY and household stores this Easter weekend compared to Easter last year.

Stax reports £2m uplift in March 22 April 2014
Wholesaler Stax Trade Centres reported a record £2m uplift in sales last month, boosted by garden sales, and predicts a strong April on the back of the breakdown in negotiations between Scotts and Solus.

A warm Easter fails to tempt the nation to shop 22 April 2014
Retailers suffered a drop in shopper numbers over the Easter weekend, despite the weather being remarkably warmer than last year.

John Lewis to celebrate 150 years with rooftop garden 22 April 2014
The roof of John Lewis' flagship store on Oxford Street will be transformed into a garden to celebrate 150 years of the company.

Garsons redevelopment on course for success 17 April 2014
Family-run garden centre Garsons has successfully completed phase one of a major redevelopment of its Esher centre, re-roofing its existing gift and furniture area and extending the retail space.

Haxnicks moves from Smart Solar to Tildenet 17 April 2014
Smart Solar is relinquishing distributorship of Haxnicks products, which as of June 1 this year will be taken on by the Tildenet Group.

Westland invests in TV advertising for key brands 17 April 2014
Westland Horticulture will showcase its Resolva weedkiller brand and Aftercut Even Flo over the Easter and May Bank holiday weekends, hoping to reach more than tensof millions of customers across major TV channels and Sky.

March brings shoppers flocking back to the high street 17 April 2014
A disappointing figure for March retail sales has been offset by encouraging footfall numbers.

Shop fitting firm Havelock Europa announces return to profit 17 April 2014
Havelock Europa has released its year-end results for 2013 ending December 31, which show a leap in pre-tax profit to £0.6m, compared to a loss of £0.5m in 2012.

Furniture ad misled over price comparisons 17 April 2014
A furniture maker has been rebuked over an ad that made misleading comparisons about the prices and quality of its products.

Toddler's Easter bunny drama triggers garden centre lockdown 17 April 2014
A Lancashire garden centre drew a major police presence yesterday after a toddler went missing on the premises.

Homebase signs deal for more info on TV ads and customers 17 April 2014
Homebase has signed a three-year deal with customer intelligence specialist Sky IQ to help the retailer gain a better understanding of the television viewing and buying habits of its customers.

One Homebase store opens as another two could close 16 April 2014
DIY superstore Homebase has opened a new store in Bromsgrove, but the retailer has revealed it is to close one in Clacton and is in consultation to close another in Walsgrave.

Solus 'making good progress' with would-be partners 16 April 2014
Solus says it is making good progress in its talks with potential new business partners, both trade and financial investors, which contacted the company during and immediately after the breakdown of negotiations with Scotts UK.

Garden centre catering firm opens London office 16 April 2014
Gloucester-based Space Catering Equipment, which provides commercial kitchen design services and equipment to garden centres, is opening its first London office.

Lighting and security feature in Amazon's new automation website 16 April 2014
Amazon has launched a new online Home Automation Store focusing on, amongst other products, lighting, home monitoring and security lines.

Glee hires Neil Gow to drive new initiatives 16 April 2014
Former Garden Industry Manufacturers Association (GIMA) director Neil Gow has joined the Glee team, helping to drive a number of new initiatives that have been introduced for the 2014 show.

BHETA stages Meet the Buyer event with TGCG 16 April 2014
A team from The Garden Centre Group (TGCG) will come together with members of the British Home Enhancement Trade Association (BHETA) at its next Meet the Buyer event.

Costly carrier bags spark surge in shopping trolley sales 16 April 2014
What was once one of the most ridiculed accessories seen on British high streets, the wheeled shopping trolley, is now having the last laugh.

TGCG appoints fresh talent to boost trading division 15 April 2014
The Garden Centre Group has moved to expand its commercial capabilities and offering to customers by appointing leading talent from across the retail industry.

Masseys' sales soar after business relocates and expands 15 April 2014
Sales have "gone through the roof" since Derbyshire DIY and garden store Masseys moved into larger, purpose-built premises last month.

Peat-free momentum drives sales at Bord na Móna 14 April 2014
Bord na Móna UK has ended its financial year 2013/14 showing a 36% rise in its branded sales year on year.

Rainy Day Trust signs up US housewares association 14 April 2014
The International Housewares Association (IHA) is the latest organisation to support the industry charity the Rainy Day Trust.

Lakeland receives global award for excellence 14 April 2014
As it approaches its 50th anniversary, Lakeland has been recognised by The International Housewares Association for its achievements and contribution to the housewares industry.

New high-speed system for Crown to fill paint cans quicker 14 April 2014
Crown Paints has invested £1m in a new high-speed manufacturing system which is designed to speed up the filling of paint cans by as much as 75%.

Man in court after throwing paint in Home Bargains 14 April 2014
An angry customer of a branch of Home Bargains in Greater Manchester found himself in court after tipping a pot of paint over the counter.

Kick Out The Can initiative for Crown Decorating Centres 11 April 2014
Crown Decorating Centres is running a paint recycling campaign between April 18 and May 6, during which people will be able to take their unwanted paint to their local centre.

Vitax signs two-year deal to sponsor The National Forest's Wood Fair 11 April 2014
As one of the UK's leading manufacturers of garden and horticulture products, Vitax has signed a two-year deal to sponsor The National Forest's Wood Fair.

Chelsea Flower Show tickets up for grabs 10 April 2014
Compost and fertiliser company, Bord na Móna, is giving away five pairs of tickets for the Chelsea Flower Show in May.

Twyford garden centre planning row resolved 10 April 2014
The owner of Hare Hatch Sheeplands in Twyford, Rob Scott, has withdrawn his appeal against enforcement notices issued by Wokingham Borough Council, bringing the end to an 18-month saga.

QEP acquires French trade names Tomecanic and Benetiere 10 April 2014
In a deal made last month, QEP bolstered its position as the world's leading supplier of tiling and flooring when its wholly-owned French subsidiary PRCI completed the purchase of French trade names Tomecanic and Benetiere.

GIMA launches £5,000 innovator's seed corn fund 9 April 2014
A £5,000 innovator's seed corn fund has been launched by GIMA to help one lucky winner with the development of a new product.

Shop vacancy figures remain stable for March 9 April 2014
Figures released by the Local Data Company (LDC) show that Britain's shop vacancy rate remains the same as it was in February at 13.6%.

Screwfix looks to double size of Stoke distribution centre 9 April 2014
Screwfix has applied for permission to build a 300,00sq ft distribution centre next to its existing 325,000sq ft site in Stoke on Trent.

Administrator to close 17 Paul Simon stores 8 April 2014
Following the announcement that home furnishings retailer Paul Simon had gone into administration, administrator Deloitte will close 17 stores out of 50.

Homebase research proves flowers trigger memories 8 April 2014
Homebase has teamed up with Professor Martin Conway to prove that flowers can conjure up memories through their colours and smells.

Paul Simon has entered into administration 7 April 2014
Home furnishings retailer Paul Simon has gone into administration after the recent flooding impacted on sales at its stores.

Somerset's Proper Job chain launches tenth store 7 April 2014
West Country DIY and discount chain Proper Job has opened its tenth store, in Frome, Somerset.

New £10m ad campaign for B&Q sees iconic orange apron take centre stage 7 April 2014
B&Q's new 'Unleash the B&Q in you' campaign aims to motivate customers to tackle home improvement projects this Easter.

Wilmslow-based garden centre to close 7 April 2014
Ned Yates Garden Centre in Moor Lane, Wilmslow, will close as owner Trevor Jacques and his son concentrate on growing their landscape gardening business.

Solus brings in advisor to look at future options 7 April 2014
Just days after the news broke that negotiations between Scotts and Solus about joining forces had broken down, Solus has announced that it has engaged business advisory firm Grant Thornton to look at strategic options for the business.

Home improvement company fined £50,000 for making unlawful phone calls 4 April 2014
Amber Windows has been served a £50,000 fine from the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) after making nuisance phone calls.

Only 20% of high street shops affected by collapse of big name retailers remain vacant 4 April 2014
Analysis of data collected by the Local Data Company on nearly 5,900 shops found that only 20% of high street shops affected by 27 administrations since 2009 remain empty.

Dunelm reports "solid progress" in Q3 4 April 2014
In its third quarter of the current financial year, Dunelm reports that sales grew by 9.9% to £195.4m, with like-for-like sales up 5%.

Kingfisher looks to buy French DIY retailer Mr Bricolage 3 April 2014
Europe's leading home improvement retailer, Kingfisher, has entered into exclusive negotiations with Mr Bricolage, in an attempt to grow its French retail operations.

£200m private equity deal will drive growth at Victoria Plumb 3 April 2014
Rapidly-growing online bathroom retailer Victoria Plumb has sold a majority stake in the business to US private equity firm TPG Capital.

Shop display firms report big boost in business 2 April 2014
A growing confidence amongst retailers is suggested by positive new figures from shopfittings and display companies.

Pets at Home opens first high street store dedicated to dogs 2 April 2014
The unique dogs only pet store called Barkers, is a new brand from the Pets at Home group and it has opened in Wilmslow, Cheshire.

Wolseley acquisition bolsters utilities presence 2 April 2014
Builders merchant Wolseley UK has bought Fusion Provida and Utility Power Systems (UPS), two trading businesses of Fusion Group.

New legislation requires garden retailers to be certified to sell garden plant protection products 2 April 2014
New legislation under the Sustainable Use Directive requires garden retailers with a turnover of £1.6m to have a sufficient number of trained and certified staff to sell garden plant protection products.

Retail operations restructure for The Garden Centre Group 2 April 2014
In a restructure of business The Garden Centre Group has moved from 12 geographical groups to six, each with a regional operations director in bid to centralise retail operations.

Argos' bottom-of-page delivery charge info was misleading 2 April 2014
Argos has been taken to task by the ad watchdog for failing to make a delivery charge clear on its website.

Scotts cuts ties with Solus as plug is pulled on acquisition 2 April 2014
Scotts Miracle-Gro has announced that it is no longer in negotiations to join forces with Solus Garden & Leisure and has confirmed it will no longer supply the wholesaler.

Roman achieves success in carbon footprint reduction 1 April 2014
UK shower designer and manufacturer Roman has achieved further success in its efforts to reduce its impact on the environment.

Winners announced at second annual Dulux Let's Colour Awards 1 April 2014
Among eight winners across eight categories, The Color Run took home the Colour Moment of the Year award.

New state-of-the-art garden centre for Notcutts Tunbridge Wells 1 April 2014
Notcutts will celebrate the opening of its redeveloped Pembury garden centre, near Tunbridge Wells, on April 11.

B&Q bedding breakthrough ditches polystyrene and peat 1 April 2014
As of this month, B&Q is eliminating polystyrene packaging across its range of bedding plants and introducing an eco-friendly replacement.

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