Essential reading for retailers and suppliers in the home improvement market

News Archive January 2013

Weather hinders Grosvenor's yearly results pre-Blue Diamond takeover 31 January 2013
Grosvenor Garden Centre saw sales decline by 4% from £6.53m to £6.24m in the year to April 1 2012, according to new accounts filed at Companies House. But the company also achieved a rise in gross margin in the period - its final year of trading as an independent business before being bought by Blue Diamond.

The Pansies triumph at GCA Olympics 31 January 2013
Panto horse costumes, welly tossing and dancing to the Black Eyed Peas were the order of the day for participants in the GCA Olympics - the traditional opening event of the annual GCA conference.

Topps Tiles grows sales, but not all is as rosy as it seems... 31 January 2013
Topps Tiles grew its sales and profits in the year to September 29 2012. But DIY Week analysis of the accounts filed recently at Companies House shows that stockturn declined, and operating margin is still well below the level achieved two years ago.

Two dead after wall collapses at Irish DIY centre 31 January 2013
An internal 40 ft wall crushed two men at the Connacht Gold DIY and Garden Centre in Longford, Co. Galway on Tuesday.

Cherry Lane acquires Nottingham garden centre 31 January 2013
QD Stores has further expanded its Cherry Lane Garden Centre portfolio with the acquisition of Bradmore Garden Centre in Nottinghamshire.

B&Q Ireland enters examinership 31 January 2013
Kingfisher-owned B&Q Ireland is seeking examinership after filing a petition with the High Court in Dublin today (January 31).

Dimplex storage heater claims were not misleading 30 January 2013
Dimplex has successfully defended four statements in a leaflet about its electric storage heaters after someone complained to the advertising watchdog that they were misleading.

Top awards given out at GCA conference 30 January 2013
Members of the Garden Centre Association (GCA) are celebrating this week after a large number received prizes at the organisation's annual conference.

Redevelopment work takes toll on Haskins sales 30 January 2013
Sales at Haskins' four garden centres in southern England fell by 11% to £21.8m in the year to February 26 2012, according to new accounts filed at Companies House.

Health concerns raised after melamine leaches into soup 30 January 2013
People eating hot food out of melamine tableware have been found to have raised levels of the toxic chemical in their bodies.

Suppliers help DIY Week raise charity funds 30 January 2013
DIY Week and are giving almost £600 to charity, thanks to suppliers who entered the 2012 DIY Week Awards.

Dyas boss Theo Paphitis eyes up HMV, Jessops and Blockbuster 29 January 2013
Dragon's Den entrepreneur Theo Paphitis, who took over DIY chain Robert Dyas last year, is reportedly in the running to purchase failed retailers HMV, Jessops and Blockbuster.

Squires enjoys robust growth in latest financial results 29 January 2013
Garden centre chain Squires achieved substantial growth in the 12 months to July 31 2012, according to accounts filed at Companies House recently.

Like-for-likes up 3.2% in Carpetright's third quarter 29 January 2013
Carpet and flooring retailer Carpetright has released results for the 13 weeks to January 26, 2013, revealing sales up 1.6%, a LfL boost of 3.2%.

Koi carp stolen from Norfolk garden centre 29 January 2013
Poppyfield Garden Centre in Snettisham, Norfolk, fell victim to fish thieves last week - 46 valuable koi carp were snatched from a covered pond.

Dulux Colour of the Year is Indigo Night 28 January 2013
Providing "warmth, reassurance and comfort", Indigo Night has been chosen as 2013's Colour of the Year by Dulux.

Hughes Electrical expands in Cambridge 28 January 2013
Independent electrical specialist Hughes Electrical has expanded its presence in Cambridge by relocating its store in the city.

B&M's plans for former Focus store restricted by DIY-only rule 28 January 2013
Discount retailer B&M Homestores is hoping to get a planning application approved to take over a former Shepton Mallet Focus DIY store - but conditions placed on the site 10 years ago restrict its trade to DIY products, which means the venture could be unviable, according to B&M.

Wesco names new UK distribution partner 28 January 2013
Wesco, the German supplier of household accessories, has appointed a new sole distributor for the UK.

Shop vacancies dip - but 2013 closures 'could double' 28 January 2013
Shop vacancies went down in December - but 2013 could usher in twice the number of closures of last year.

BHETA in joint mobile site initiative for Ambiente 28 January 2013
The British Home Enhancement Trade Association has come together with British Jewellery & Giftware International and UK Trade & Investment to produce a mobile website to promote UK companies at next month's Ambiente show.

DIY searches on tablets up 242% in Q4 2012 25 January 2013
Phenomenal growth in retail searches on tablets at the end of last year show that "online retail really came of age this Christmas".

BRC: 50% retailers plan to make redundancies this quarter 24 January 2013
Despite retail employment growing by 0.6% year-on-year in the fourth quarter of 2012, new findings by the BRC have revealed half of the retailers they questioned plan to decrease staffing levels during the first three months of 2013.

More expert speakers announced for GCA conference 23 January 2013
Retailing to women will be the subject of speaker Liz Hutson's speech at the GCA annual conference on January 28, while Paul Arrigo from Franchi Seeds will speak on the subject of 'From Seed to Plate' the following day.

Notcutts to share Bagshot site with Waitrose 23 January 2013
The Baghost branch of Nottcutts Garden Centres has joined forces with supermarket giant Waitrose to transform the existing site into a purpose-built single site comprising both Notcutts and Waitrose.

B&Q introduces 'green fleet' powered by natural gas 23 January 2013
A greener fleet of dual fuel lorries - powered by natural gas produced by waste - has been introduced by B&Q in a bid to reach a 2023 deadline of reducing CO2 emissions to 50%.

Monument becomes Rainy Day Trust partner

 22 January 2013
South London-based manufacturer Monument Tools has become the latest business to show support for the Rainy Day Trust charity by taking up a 'Partner Package' sponsorship offer.

Electric shock LED bulb recalled 22 January 2013
An LED bulb has been recalled from end users because of a danger from live parts.

Garden Centres boosted by non-plant sales 22 January 2013
Catering, Christmas and gifts gave garden centres a less-traditional sales boost last year, according to the Garden Centre Association's (GCA) Barometer of Trade (BoT) results.

Stanley Tool Jury helps raise £10,000 for charity 22 January 2013
Stanley has honoured its pledge to donate £10,000 to charity after its Tool Jury completed a gruelling 72-hour challenge.

Topps Tiles takes its trade shows to the road 22 January 2013
Following on from the success of the first Topps Tiles trade event at the Milton Keynes store last year, the flooring retailer is inviting tilers, builders and other trade professionals to attend its nationwide Topps Trade Roadshow at locations throughout the UK.

The Midlands Co-op to axe its Fashion & Home stores 22 January 2013
The Midlands Co-operative is to close its loss-making chain of Fashion & Home department stores.

Free packaging review for BHETA members 22 January 2013
The British Home Enhancement Trade Association has teamed up with a new service provider to offer help to members in all areas of packaging.

Home Hardware Christmas promotion hits new high 22 January 2013
Home Hardware says its Christmas 2012 promotion sales were up 19% over the previous year.

Morrisons and Lakeland link for online kitchenware offer 21 January 2013
Morrisons is boosting its online non-food offer by linking with the Lakeland chain for the launch of a new kitchenware website.

Retailers hit by 15.6% leap in cost of retail crime 21 January 2013
The overall cost of retail crime soared by 15.6% last year to £1.6bn, but retailers' lack of confidence in police response saw dramatically fewer incidents being reported.

Three-store Godfrey DIY goes into liquidation 21 January 2013
Norwich-based Godfrey DIY has pulled the plug on its business, calling in liquidators just days after its managing director told of plans to secure its future.

Retail sales fell in December, but household goods spend is up 18 January 2013
According to the Office for National Statistics, retail sales fell by 0.1% in terms of value and volume compared with November, but were up year-on-year.

Silentnight owner a potential buyer for Dreams 18 January 2013
Beds manufacturer Silentnight is reportedly eying up bed retailer Dreams, which was put up for sale last month.

Homebase sales slip 3.9% LfL due to big-ticket weakness 17 January 2013
Home Retail Group announced a raised profit forecast in its interim management statement this morning, but it was strong sales from Argos, not Homebase, which bolstered the home improvement giant's third quarter.

One of UK's oldest garden centres celebrates 40 years 17 January 2013
Haskins is celebrating 40 years of trading, which has seen it go from a small family-run nursery to a garden centre shop at Tricketts Cross in Ferndown, to a £32m turnover business with four centres.

Derbyshire garden centre cafe scoops county award 17 January 2013
The restaurant at Fairways Garden Centre in Ashbourne has won an award in the 2013 Derbyshire Food and Drink Awards.

Places running out at Garden Press Event 17 January 2013
There are just a few spaces still available at the 2013 Garden Press Event - where garden suppliers and retailers get a one-on-one with some of the leading trade and consumer gardening press and media.

New Year boost for BHETA's DIY membership 17 January 2013
Two more companies, both from the decorating sector, have joined the British Home Enhancement Association since the beginning of 2013.

'Most people' favour shops over ecommerce 16 January 2013
Only a fifth of Britons prefer to do their shopping via the internet, with the greater majority still favouring a real shop.

Five more Burdens depots find buyers 16 January 2013
'Secret Millionaire' to speak at GCA conference 16 January 2013
Manufacturing innovator John Elliott, MBE, who once took part in Channel 4's 'Secret Millionaire' series, will be speaking at the Garden Centre Assocation's annual conference this month.

Garden centres cash in on car dealerships 15 January 2013
A number of garden centres - from multiples The Garden Centre Group and Dobbies to independents Wentworth and Webbs - recently played host to a nationwide Chevrolet promotion, giving up two car parking spaces and cashing in on the extra interest from customers.

'We're more transparent than retailers' says kitchen comparison site 15 January 2013
The owner of the kitchen price comparison website that has set DIY chains at loggerheads has now weighed in to the fight itself, answering criticisms that the site is misleading and biased towards B&Q.

Retail support sought for Independent Easter campaign 15 January 2013
This year's Enjoy an Independent Easter campaign is urging retailers to get involved with a special Easter egg hunt to divert consumers away from out-of-town retail parks, major chains and online giants, to smaller, local independent businesses.

Alex Polizzi steps in to help struggling garden centre 15 January 2013
A garden centre that has been fighting for its life since opening last year has received unexpected help in the form of television small-business guru, Alex Polizzi.

Garden centres to receive surprise visits from GCA speaker 14 January 2013
Dubbed 'the King of garden centres', Wayne Hemingway MBE will once again be speaking at the Garden Centre Association's annual conference this January - and his talk will reflect the findings of several unannounced visits he will be making to garden centres in the weeks beforehand.

New Dunlop Adhesives app for tradesmen 14 January 2013
Adhesives and grouts manufacturer Dunlop Adhesives has launched a new app, offering a range of helpful advice and information to tradesmen on the job.

Rainy Day Trust signs up Polypal 14 January 2013
The retail storage and display equipment supplier Polypal has become the latest business to sign up for the Rainy Day Trust's partnership scheme.

'Unprecedented demand' for BHETA's Amazon forum 14 January 2013
The British Home Enhancement Trade Association has changed the venue for its upcoming joint open forum for housewares and DIY members because of what it calls "unprecedented demand for places".

Christmas trading sees sales leap 14.7% at Robert Dyas 14 January 2013
The November 1 - December 24 trading period saw like-for-like turnover in stores increase by 12.9%, and a total of 14.7% when including online sales.

Jewson provides shelter for The Coldest Journey 11 January 2013
Builders merchant Jewson has donated £3,000 worth of building materials to help Sir Ranulph Fiennes and his team succeed in their forthcoming expedition, The Coldest Journey.

New primetime DIY TV show set for launch 11 January 2013
The DIY trade could be set for a boost as a new home makeover series prepares to launch on primetime television.

Godfrey DIY to downsize its Norwich branch 10 January 2013
Retailer Godfrey DIY has revealed plans to dramatically downsize one of its three branches and rebrand its offer at the site as a dedicated furniture store trading under the Totally Home banner.

B&Q hits out at 'yo-yo' pricing - and rivals hit right back 10 January 2013
B&Q has slammed kitchen and bathroom retailers that it says bump up the prices of their products in order to be able to slash them later - while B&Q itself, it claims, has the lowest prices in the kitchen market.

Year end brings modest relief for Woodies's DIY 10 January 2013
The fortunes of struggling Irish retail chain Woodie's DIY saw a slight reversal towards the end of last year.

Topps Tiles sponsors Daybreak weather 10 January 2013
Tiling retailer Topps Tiles has created 12 adverts to sponsor the weather reports on ITV's Daybreak programme.

Councils' record parking bonanza is 'crude and short-sighted' 10 January 2013
Local authorities made record revenue from car parking fines and charges last year - and the end result will be ghost high streets.

Kingfisher signs up Trade Direct for customer insurance 9 January 2013
B&Q and Screwfix's parent group Kingfisher has appointed insurance broker Trade Direct as the sole supplier and administrator of tools and public liability insurance for its customers.

Neil Fishlock replaces Charlie Lacey at Decco 9 January 2013
Decco has appointed former Dobbies head of buying Neil Fishlock to take on the role of supplier relations manager.

Discount chain QD Stores buys rival Thingmebobs 9 January 2013
East Anglian discount chain Thingmebobs has been bought by QD Stores for an undisclosed sum.

Garden manufacturer Doff Portland bought back from the brink 9 January 2013
Following its acquisition of garden care manufacturer Doff Portland in December 2012, 151 Products is implementing a restructuring plan to save the family-run firm from insolvency.

Topps Tiles continues upward sales in Q1 8 January 2013
Tile and flooring retailer Topps Tiles has revealed a 1.6% sales increase like-for-like for the 13 weeks ending December 29, 2012.

A flourishing H1 for Dunelm Mill, but difficulty lies ahead. 8 January 2013
Recently named the country's top homewares retailer, Dunelm Mill has posted sales growth of 13% for the 26 weeks ending December 29, 2012 - but chief executive Nick Wharton has warned the momentum could be difficult to maintain during the second half.

Glue gun can deliver an electric shock 7 January 2013
The authorities have ordered the withdrawal from the market of a glue gun that is liable to give users an electric shock.

Gardman financial restructuring to allow international expansion 7 January 2013
Gardening company Gardman recently announced its successful completion of a financial restructuring within the group.

Candles allocated more space at Christmasworld 7 January 2013
Visitors to Frankfurt's Christmasworld will find an expanded range of candles and room fragrances when the fair opens at the end of this month.

Public inquiry will rule on Hants garden centre plan 7 January 2013
A Hampshire garden centre is hoping that a public inquiry this spring will override opposition to a relocation of the business.

Sterling Locks' festive donation to Rainy Day Trust 7 January 2013
Sterling Locks diverted its Christmas card energies this year to charity, sending instead a donation to the Rainy Day Trust.

Prospective Comet web brand buyer DRL sees sales up 28% 4 January 2013
White goods retailer DRL, owner of the Appliances Online website, has seen sales soar 28% to £207.3m during its last financial year, and has recently emerged as a bidder for Comet's online brand.

DIY and gardening to be retail champions of 2013 4 January 2013
The DIY and gardening retail sector is set to grow 3.3% in 2013, making it the strongest category for projected growth in retail, according to a new report by Verdict and SAS UK.

Haskins Garden Centres celebrate best Christmas sales ever 3 January 2013
For the first time in the Haskin Garden Centre group's 39 years of trading, turnover exceeded £4million during the month of December.

BDC: "We're back!" 3 January 2013
BDC Electrical Distribution Ltd - formerly known as BDC 2008 and Bridisco - is back on form 18 months after entering administration.

HTA welcomes abolition of AWB 3 January 2013
The Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) recently welcomed Defra's announcement of the abolition of the Agricultural Wages Board (AWB) in England and Wales.

British Empire Medal for John Poore 3 January 2013
John Poore, MD of Poore's of Acton, was awarded a British Empire Medal for services to charity in the new year honours list.

New home for Home Decor 3 January 2013
Doors supplier Home Decor has started the new year in a brand new home - Woodhouse Mill in Sheffield.

Notcutts suffers £10,000 damages in smash and grab raid 2 January 2013
It was not a very merry Christmas for Notcutts Garden Centres after ram-raiders drove a stolen Mitsubishi pick-up truck into the sliding glass doors of the company's Cranleigh centre, causing £10,000 worth of damage.

Retail administrations up 6% last year 2 January 2013
Off the back of a year which saw 194 retail insolvencies, up 6% on 2011, early indications are that Christmas trading in 2012 was "reasonable but not spectacular" according to business advisory firm Deloitte.

Obituary: Ray Scotting 2 January 2013
Ray Scotting, until recently managing director of Liberon Ltd, died on Christmas Day. He was 68, and had been diagnosed with cancer earlier in 2012.

Retailers urge MPs to help high streets 2 January 2013
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) is asking MPs to prioritise listening to local businesses to help halt high street decline, in the wake of empty shops reaching a new high of 11.3% in town centres.

QD Christmas sales hit an all-time high 2 January 2013
Strong sales of festive decorations and plants helped value retailer QD achieve record Christmas trading figures.

Christmas sales records tumble at John Lewis 2 January 2013
Enthusiastic shoppers helped John Lewis break a raft of sales records over the Christmas period, the department store retailer said today.


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