Essential reading for retailers and suppliers in the home improvement market

UK's first Bunnings Warehouse opens for business

Published: 2 February 2017 - Jenny Wonnacott
The store
The store's performance will help bosses decide whether to continue the £500m rollout of Bunnings across the UK

The first Hombease-Bunnings conversion is complete, with a brand new Bunnings Warehouse – the country's first – opening for business today.

The UK
The UK's first Bunnings is a slight departure from the store's usual Australian, super-size format

The pilot store, in St Albans, Hertfordshire, has been described as “a major step towards establishing the Bunnings Warehouse format in the UK's £38billion-a-year home improvement and garden market.”

The new store in St Albans is 67,000sq ft and employs 68 people, almost double the previous workforce of the Homebase store. A third of the team members are aged over 50, and include former plumbers, painters, electricians and landscape gardeners, as well as other trades people who, says Bunnings, “after extensive training are perfectly placed to offer customers a helping hand and expert advice on any home or garden project.”

The store boasts more than 30,000 difference home and garden lines, an increase of 40% compared to most Homebase stores. Among the features are timber cutting, a new tool shop offering world-leading brands, a 'colour wall' featuring more than 3,000 colour tiles as well as a paint mixing service using Johnstone's Trade, Crown and Dulux paint.

Bunnings St Albans also features a 19,000sq ft garden centre as well as a dedicated DIY workshop area where the whole family can learn skills from wallpaper hanging to tile cutting. The store also has a cafe and an indoor playground.

To celebrate the opening, Bunnings has introduced its fundraising 'Sausage Sizzle' to the UK, with managing director of Bunnings UK and Ireland Peter 'PJ' Davis cooking breakfast for team members. He said, “It's great to be able to give people a taste of what Bunnings is all about.

“Our policy is to offer customers the lowest prices, the widest range and best service, and hopefully our first pilot store demonstrates that. I want to say a huge thank you to everybody who helped get us to this momentous day.”

A second Bunnings Warehouse for St Albans – this time located on Hatfield Road – will open in April, and the store is on track to have at least four pilots up and running by the summer. Mr Davis added, “We are laying strong foundations on which to build the Bunnings Warehouse business in the UK and Ireland for generations to come.”

Complex manager Andy Kenwick said, “The team has worked incredibly hard over the past three months to transform the store. They have had more than 3,000 hours training on everything from timber and key cutting to product knowledge and health and safety. We've even trained our own baristas for the cafe. Now we just can't wait to get started.”

Bunnings, part of the Wesfarmers group, plans to invest up to £500m rolling out the Bunnings Warehouse format in the UK over the next three to five years.

Comments

09 February 2017 19:21:24
kenny james
This is exactly what homebase has been looking for over the years a take over from a company that KNOWS WHAT IT IS DOING!!! a company that also CARES ABOUT CUSTOMERS AND STAFF not just concerned over shareholders as this is what HRG was all about keeping prices of every day products highly inflated giving the cream of the profits to a majority of people who never stepped foot in the place, looking promising for the future as homebase head office is now not filled with a bunch of people with degrees thinking they know how to do it.
06 February 2017 11:30:43
Gel
04 February 2017 07:40:35
Whisper

Its cleaar that Homebase wont exist in a couple of years, this is a serious DIY and Garden shop with market leading prices , stock in real depth with no dilution of the offer with DVDs etc. When teh next two open it would be interesting to see how the Wickes and B and Q react .  There was real difference in products when I went and if one were near me , I would be shopping there .


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