Bunnings UK and Ireland today announced it is to expand its pilot programme, and will have 20 stores by the end of 2017 – twice as many as previously expected.
We understand that not all the new pilot stores will occupy former Homebase stores, with up to three at new sites and news of a new-build location in the offing within the next 12 months.
The announcement coincides with the opening of the fourth Bunnings Warehouse in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire; the largest in the UK and Ireland to date. The store, on the site of a former Homebase in Snowdon Drive, occupies over 90,000 square feet, and employs 140 team members – including 88 newly-created full and part-time roles. Bunnings continues to invest in the team and has provided more than 1,500 hours of training.
It follows a positive response from customers to the first pilot store in St Albans and Hemel Hempstead. To date, the new stores have created more than 220 new jobs, with more than 1,000 new roles anticipated by the end of the year.
Bunnings also recently announced two new additions to the UK and Ireland senior leadership team Damian McGloughlin, Chief Operating Officer, and David Haydon, General Manager, who bring with them over 55 years’ industry experience. These new hires reflect Bunnings commitment to strong stable leadership and long-term growth within the UK home improvement market.
Managing Director PJ Davis said: “Our decision to extend the pilot programme reflects the positive reaction we’ve seen from customers to the stores we’ve opened so far.
“Increasing the number of pilot stores to 20 will give us the opportunity to test the concept in new geographies, with different demographics, across a range of store sizes.
“We are determined to combine the best of Bunnings Warehouse with what UK consumers want. The success of the pilots still remains a precursor to additional investment.”
The next store to open after Milton Keynes will be in Folkestone, Kent in July. Following that, the Homebase stores in Thanet (Broadstairs), Sittingbourne, Kent and Basildon, Vange, Essex will be the next to be redeveloped.