Essential reading for retailers and suppliers in the home improvement market

Australian housewares chain sets its sights on UK

Published: 7 August 2017 - Fiona Garcia
 

Australian housewares chain House, which is owned by Global Retail Brands, is preparing to move into the UK market next year.

Global Retail Brands, which also operates Pet House Superstore and Your Home Depot, aims to open its first tranche of House stores by April 2018, with a total of 75 stores planned within three years.

Billed as Australia’s largest specialty homewares retailer, House operates 170 stores in the country focused on ‘kitchen, cooking, dining and entertaining’. Each branch typically carries up to 4,000 lines, including cookware, tabletop, kitchenware, small electricals and rugs. Its website also offers a wide range of pet products, including food and feeding equipment, collars and leads, clothing, bedding, toys and dog and cat doors. 

Brands listed on House’s website at www.house.com/au include Baccarat, Jamie Oliver, Maxwell & Williams, Laguiole, Joseph Joseph, Global, KitchenAid, Breville, Scanpan, Alex Liddy, Royal Doulton. Marie Claire, Krosno, Alex Liddy, Thermos, Salt & Pepper, and Rug Culture. These are in addition to House’s exclusive brands: Ambrosia, Cellar, Scullery and Soffritto.

Global Retail Brands executive chairman Steven Lew said: “Over the last couple of years we’ve looked at ‘opportunity markets’, both nationally and internationally, and the UK seems like a very good fit for us.

“Our overall aim is to inspire customers to cook and create with confidence, and enjoy entertaining at home. At House, we always insist on ‘silver service’ and customer interaction forms a key part of our proposition.

“We want House to become a household name in the UK as the go-to for cooking and entertaining – and we believe that 75 stores is a safe number to target.

“However, this will very much be opportunity-led. We also want to create a sustainable product. For example, we’re not focusing on putting a showcase on Oxford Street, as we want the first store to be the same as the 75th store. If compelling opportunities present themselves, we will have the opportunity to open even more stores.”

House is looking at outlets in shopping centres and retail parks, targeting unit sizes of about 3,500sq ft. In the past 18 months, House executive directors have visited almost 100 potential locations up and down the country.

Global Retail Brands is being advised by MMX Retail. Partner Nick Symons commented: “We’re delighted to have been instructed by another new international entrant to the UK market.

“The House team has evidently spent considerable time and effort evaluating the UK opportunity and we’re excited about advising them on a nationwide roll out over the coming years. We have already received excellent feedback from the meetings we’ve had with major landlords across the UK.”

He added: “Global Retail Brands’ strong trading history over the last 40 years, combined with its customer service levels and product delivery, has shown that House will create a new, strong draw to a wide range of retail venues across the UK over the coming years.”

House is the latest Australian to make its debut in the UK home improvement market, following Wesfarmers' acqusition of Homebase last year and subsequent roll out of its Bunnings Warehouse format. It follows a string of other Australian retailers to land in the UK, including children’s stationery operator Smiggle, which opened its 100th store earlier this year, along with Typo, Honey Birdette, Kikki.K and Lovisa, which all launched in the UK over the past three years.

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