Essential reading for retailers and suppliers in the home improvement market

News Archive April 2012

BIRA Awards winners announced 30 April 2012
Pritesh Pancholi of Melton Ironmongers in Leicester has named BHF Young Retailer of the Year for 2012.

Flying Brands confirms plans to sell Gardening Direct 30 April 2012
The group is in discussions with potential purchasers interested in the online garden shop and is hoping to complete a deal by the end of June.

Caroline Gordon elected BIRA president 30 April 2012
Kitchen Kapers director Caroline Gordon was elected president of the British Independent Retailers Association at the AGM on April 24.

DIY and hardware retail sales dip in April, but wholesalers flourish 30 April 2012
The balance of sales volumes for DIY and hardware retailers has dipped to -45% after holding steady in March, according to the latest distributive trades survey by the CBI.

Mainlys Mica celebrates second store opening 27 April 2012
With first store Mainlys of Devizes Mica having gone from conception during a conversation at the 2010 Totally DIY show to winning the 2011 Silver Hardware Retailer of the Year DIY Week Award, owners Colin and Clare Henrich decided the time was ripe to open a second store.

Retail employment up 0.4% in Q1 2012 26 April 2012
Employment opportunities in non-food stores rose for the first time in almost a year, according to the latest figures produced by the British Retail Consortium.

Garden Centre sales weather the drought warnings 26 April 2012
In a recent poll, 74% of respondents said they thought the hosepipe ban would negatively impact garden centre trade, but according to the latest results from the Garden Centre Association, like-for-like sales were up 11.5% during March.

Howdens cancels retail accounts with DIY stores and builders merchants 26 April 2012
A number of DIY retailers and builders merchants across an area of London received calls from a Howdens depot this week, telling them their accounts with the joinery supplier were being closed forthwith because they "did not want anyone re-selling our doors."

Electrical distributor Inman in administration 25 April 2012
Sheffield-based electrical goods wholesaler and national distributor Inman & Co has been closed down after going into administration.

Britain back in recession, but retail made "positive contribution" to GDP 25 April 2012
The latest preliminary estimate from the Office of National Statistics shows the country is technically in a double-dip recession, with the GDP having contracted by 0.2% in Q1 following a 0.3% shrinkage in Q4 2011, but sector insight shows positive growth in the retail sector.

The Garden Store takes over Burford Garden Centre 25 April 2012
The Garden Store Group has taken over the Burford Garden Company's 10-hectare garden centre located at Burford House in Tenbury, Wiltshire.

Just 2.25% of DIY sales were made online in 2011 25 April 2012
The bulky and "sometimes hazardous" nature of DIY products ramps up home delivery costs and means online orders have seen only limited growth in recent years, according to a new sector insight report into DIY retailing.

Robert Dyas denies R Capital is potential buyer 25 April 2012
The home and hardware chain has refuted claims in the press that restaurant and health club owner R Capital is among the four or five potential buyers currently caught up in a bidding war over the retailer.

Carpetright sees UK sales decline by 3.2% but like-for-likes up 1.4% 24 April 2012
The carpet and floor coverings retailer announced group sales had dropped by 4.2% in the 11 weeks to April 14, 2012, with total sales across Europe decreasing by 4.7%, a LfL drop of 4.4%.

Rolawn's fighting fit efforts raise £1,300 for Greenfingers 24 April 2012
Staff at Rolawn took part in a range of fundraising activities - from a sponsored slim to a 70mile bike ride - and put on discounts for their online customers to raise money as part of their Garden Re-Leaf Day effort.

Irish DIY businesses bought by Harleston Group 23 April 2012
Irish tiles and bathroom retailer Tubs and Tiles, and heating and plumbing supplier Heat Merchant have been bought by Hevac Ltd parent group Harleston.

Gorilla Glue’s Simon Damp features on TV shopping channel 23 April 2012
European sales director Simon Damp has become a regular demonstrator of Gorilla Glue products on live TV shopping channel QVC after being approached by the channel during a Totally DIY show four years ago.

Poor furniture and flooring sales drive down Irish retail in Q1 23 April 2012
Ireland's retail industry suffered its 12th consecutive quarter of declining sales during its 2012 Q1 trading period, but there was some light at the end of the tunnel as retail sales for March recorded a like-for-like increase of 0.73%.

B&Q wins a Queen's Award for sustainability 23 April 2012
The DIY retailer won one of the Queen's Awards for Enterprise in recognition of its work as a sustainable business and its efforts improving the sustainability of people's homes.

Floors-2-Go buys Allied Floors out of administration 23 April 2012
Flooring retailer bought as a going concern within hours of appointing administrators on Friday.

Homewares sales praised for John Lewis' 14% LfL growth 20 April 2012
The John Lewis partnership released positive post-Easter sales figures today, showing sales at £61.09m for the department store, up 13.9% on the same period last year.

Totally DIY moves to new venue for 2013 20 April 2012
Totally DIY, the UK's main exhibition for the home improvement market, is moving venues for 2013.

March sees household goods sales boost, but BCC warns retail is still in trouble 20 April 2012
Sunny weather helped give sales volume of household goods a like-for-like boost of 2.5% this March, according to the Office for National Statistics, with the value of sales rising by 2% - the largest increase since January 2011.

Solus and Greenfingers 'turn old into gold' 20 April 2012
Garden, leisure and home décor wholesaler Solus has joined forces with the Greenfingers charity for its 2012 fundraiser - auctioning unwanted stock from horticultural businesses all over the UK.

Morrisons makes its move on the garden industry 19 April 2012
The supermarket retailer has opened 129 temporary garden centres in recent months - and it looks as if these are here to stay as it revealed this week that the new additions to its stores will remain open over the lucrative summer period.

Tile Depot becomes newest member of the Tile Association 19 April 2012
The south east-based tile retailer has confirmed it has joined the association, which provides technical support to members and customers as wells as promoting high standards in the tiling industry.

Scammers target Totally DIY exhibitors again 18 April 2012
In a repeat of a scam previously publicised by, a Mexican-based company is once again targeting exhibitors at the Totally shows to update 'free' listings in the Expo Guide which could ultimately end up costing them thousands of pounds a year.

Easter rain boosted interiors but crippled garden trade 18 April 2012
Room specific products during the Easter 2012 weekend saw a 16.4% boost according to a new report by the GfK, which said the dismal weather meant people spent more money - as well as time - indoors.

UPDATE: Social housing B&Q vouchers leaving DIY SMEs out in the cold 18 April 2012
The DIY retailer has recently been in the spotlight for a deal which saw social housing tenants in South Shields given vouchers only valid at a B&Q superstore, described as "grossly unfair" by neighbouring independent DIY traders.

M&S home sales down 7.5% in Q4 17 April 2012
The retailer said the sector was "almost entirely impacted by our decision to withdraw from technology."

Gardman ventures into pet care category 17 April 2012
Garden products supplier announces move into a new market with the launch of a pet care accessories range.

Home Hardware returns to Canton Fair 16 April 2012
Following the success of last year's visit to the Canton Fair, Home Hardware Scotland's general manager, Chris McEwan and senior buyer, Derek O'Ware are set to make a return 10 day visit at the end of April.

Glee launches new food and catering zone for 2012 16 April 2012
In the wake of the sky-rocketing interest in garden centre catering, Glee organisers have got in on the action and for the first time visitors to the September show will be able to take advantage of the newly launched Food and Catering Zone.

Mica targets next generation shoppers with new look website 13 April 2012
The Mica co-operative group has just gone live with brand new upgrade, featuring additional supplier resources alongside a contemporary new look for consumers.

Dobbies first to stock ice cream for dogs 12 April 2012
Billy + Margot, a unique new iced treat made especially for dogs was launched across 27 Dobbies Garden Centres today, making it the first and only garden centre to currently stock the new iced treat in its pets department.

Notcutts promotes benefits of coffee as garden fertiliser 12 April 2012
Notcutts has teamed up with Greencup Coffee in an exclusive deal to provide the garden centre chain's customers with a unique, recycled coffee garden fertiliser that uses beans from coffee sold at its Notcutts centres.

Dunelm continues to grow in tough climate 12 April 2012
An area of wasteland in Kettering is currently under construction to be transformed into new retail units including a Dunelm Mill store, as the retailer announced a 0.6% like-for-life sales growth in Q3.

Cuprinol presents celebrity shed makeovers 11 April 2012
In celebration of all things shed-related, Cuprinol recently commissioned famous shed-lovers Vic Reeves, Christian O'Connell, Joanne Harris, Alex Johnson and Sarah Beeny to create their ultimate "garden havens" which are now open to the public in beauty spots across the country.

House of Reeves arsonist due to be sentenced 11 April 2012
Gordon Thompson, 34, who admitted to starting a fire which destroyed a 144-year-old furniture store in Croydon during the London riots last summer, is expected to receive a significant jail sentence today.

Westland Horticulture acquires Cranswick Pet Products 11 April 2012
The garden products supplier announces the purchase of Cranswick - a leading manufacturer in the wild bird and small animal markets.

UPDATE: Reeves arsonist jailed for 11.5 years 11 April 2012
Gordon Thompson, 34, has been sentenced to 11 years and six months in jail for setting fire to House of Reeves in Croydon in what was described in court as "an act of cynical cowardice."

GC Easter trade sees Good Friday sales washed out by Monday 11 April 2012
It was a mixed report of trading for garden centres across the country following the long-anticipated Easter Bank Holiday weekend, with many seeing an initial bright start on Friday, followed by poor footfall during Monday's rainy weather.

Council's home improvement scheme slammed for favouring B&Q 10 April 2012
A scheme for tenants of South Tyneside Homes has been criticised by independent DIY retailers in the area because the customers' £200 home improvement allowance is only valid at a B&Q store in South Shields.

Retail administrations surge by 15% in Q1 2012 10 April 2012
According to Deloitte, 69 retailers fell into administration during the first quarter of 2012 compared with 60 in the same period last year, with an estimated 10,000 job losses.

GCG to run Westonbirt plant centre 10 April 2012
The Garden Centre Group has agreed a new partnership to run the plant centre and gift shop at Westonbirt, The National Arboretum in Gloucestershire.

"Shot in the arm" for DIY retail sector in March 10 April 2012
The unseasonably hot weather in March sent shoppers to the high streets, with homewares sales up 4.1% on last year according to the BDO high street sales tracker.

Monkton Elm GC donates saplings to worthy causes 5 April 2012
The Somerset-based garden centre announced in January it was planning to give away thousands of sapling trees to worthy causes around the South West, and this week announced the successful replanting of more than 2,000 of the trees in 31 different projects.

John Lewis' outdoor living sales boosted by new catalogue 5 April 2012
Department store chain reported sales uplift in warmer weather last week, with strong sales of garden furniture and barbecues, while its Poole 'at home' store recorded the highest figures across the retail chain.

Garden Centres prepare for GCA annual inspections 5 April 2012
Owners and staff at nearly 200 garden centres across the UK will soon receive a visit from a GCA inspector to assess whether they are meeting the strict standards of membership.

New B&Q for Bedford 4 April 2012
It's claimed to be the largest town in the country without a B&Q store, but that's all set to change with plans under way for a new £18.5m development at Ampthill Road.

UK businesses picking up, but BCC says growth is too slow 3 April 2012
In a stark contrast to reports this week that Britain is heading for a double-dip recession, the latest findings from the British Chamber of Commerce shows encouraging signs of recovery for the UK's businesses.

B&Q launches first ever Easter weekend DIY helpline 3 April 2012
Members of the You Can Do It Crew, an online help service for DIYers, will be on hand daily from Good Friday to Easter Monday for the first time.

New 'low cost, high impact' gardens at flower show 3 April 2012
Celebrating gardening on a budget is the theme for a new category introduced by the RHS and the Association of Professional Landscapers (APL) for this year's Hampton Court Palace Flower Show.

Flying Brands sells brands off in £0.72m deal 2 April 2012
Gardening Direct's parent company announced the conditional sale of its Garden Centre Online, Garden Bird Supplies (GBS) and Listen2 (L2) trade and assets to home entertainment distributor MBL Group plc this week, pending shareholder approval.

Early spring causes Roundup to bring ad campaign forward 2 April 2012
Roundup has brought forward the start of its primetime TV advertising to make the most of the recent spell of warm weather and push its Pump' N Go range.


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