The Wesfarmers-owned group will open a new Bunnings store on the sites of former Homebase branch in Bicester and a Bunnings Warehouse in Walton on Thames - both occupying far smaller footprints than the Warehouse pilot stores it has opened to date.
The smaller-format store in Bicester will operate under the Bunnings banner rather than the Warehouse signage seen until now.
The Homebase in Bicester is already closed for refurbishment and will open this month. At around 36,000sq ft, it is a fraction of the size of most of the 11 pilot stores that have opened so far – the majority of which are over 64,000sq ft.
Meanwhile DIY Week can report that the Homebase store on New Zealand Avenue in Walton on Thames will close its doors on January 7 ahead of its transformation. Planning permission was granted on December 13 to convert the store into a Bunnings Warehouse and, at 26,234sq ft, the footprint is even smaler than the new small-format style outlet the retailer plans to sttart trialling . Some work has already started at the site and staff said the warehouse is expected to open under the new banner within three weeks of closing for refurbishment next month.
The smallest footprint under the Bunnings Warehouse banner currently stands at 40,000sq ft on Hatfield Road in St Albans. The biggest, meanwhile, is the flagship store in the same town, which spans 90,000sq ft.
Whilst the larger-scale store is closer to the Bunnings proposition in Australia, Bunnings UK MD PJ Davis has always been open about playing with different-sized formats, explaining that the Homebase estate boasts a variety of store footprints.
Describing the 90,000sq ft St Albans store as “the ideal”, he added: “We really like this size… but it depends on the market. We have some 20,000sq ft stores in the Homebase network.”
Mr Davis also made the announcement at the Accessible Retail conference that the retail chain would be opening smaller format stores before Christmas in order to trial the smaller format in the UK market.