Kingfisher confirms the remaining Shepton Mallett branch has now reverted to a Screwfix, as the business moves away from its trial of the dedicated DIY store format.
The 5,000sq ft DIY Express store in Shepton Mallett opened on Haskins Retail Estate in March 2012, with Kingfisher announcing it would be trialling a DIY convenience format “designed to target consumers in smaller retail spaces”.
The venture, headed up by Graham Bell and Jon Mewett – then, both directors at Screwfix – initially received good feedback, with a second branch opening in Hayes following shortly after.
Many independents criticised the new launch, accusing Kingfisher of squeezing them out but Screwfix defended the placement of DIY Express on the high street, saying: "We are testing the DIY Express format because we feel there is a gap in the market for a DIY convenience offer - one that complements the trade/serious DIY offer of our Screwfix stores, as well as successfully sitting alongside the independent DIY retailer.”
However, the Hayes trial clearly proved unsuccessful and the store closed its doors after just five months of trading, with Screwfix choosing to then step up its presence at the Shepton Mallett branch, opening a small-format Screwfix trade counter in the unit next door.
Confirming the decision to axe the DIY Express brand altogether, a Kingfisher spokesperson told DIY Week this morning that the Shepton Mallett store has been converted to a Screwfix, explaining: “The focus is firmly on the Screwfix format.”
Screwfix reported a sales uplift of 9.6% in Q1 with LFL at +4.5% and four new outlets opening in the UK between January and April 2019, adding to its growing network of over 620 stores nationwide.
One retailer who is happy to see the back of the DIY store is Right Price DIY, which is located a mile away in Downside. Speaking to DIY Week, owner Mark Nixon, who has actively challenged the Screwfix venture since its arrival on his doorstep seven years ago, said: “Our biggest competitor was Screwfix with DIY Express but they’ve packed up and left. We like to think we gave them a good hiding, so they went back to the drawing board! They disappeared about a month ago and now it is a Screwfix Warehouse.”
Read the full interview with Right Price DIY’s Mark Nixon in the June 14 issue of DIY Week, out tomorrow. Don’t receive the magazine? Sign up here