Essential reading for retailers and suppliers in the home improvement market

News Archive March 2014

Hillier launches book to celebrate 150th anniversary 31 March 2014
'Hillier: The Plants, The People, The Passion' charts the nursery and garden centre business' story from its foundation in Winchester in 1864 to the present day, depicting its survival through war, recession and social change.

Four prison officers shown tricks of the DIY trade by B&Q colleague 31 March 2014
The DIY skills the four prison officers gained from B&Q's Bob Lakey will be passed on to prisoners in Scottish prisons to increase their chances of finding employment upon release.

Survey reveals that 11% of shed owners admit to making secret phone calls in their sheds 31 March 2014
Research released by Cuprinol ahead of the Shed of the Year competition, reveals that more than 14 million people in the UK now own a shed.

Homebase targets Coventry store for possible closure 31 March 2014
One of Homebase's two stores in Coventry is the latest to be threatened with the axe as the retailer presses ahead with its programme of closures.

Carpetright issues third profit warning in six months 28 March 2014
In its latest announcement Carpetright predicts year ending April 2014 pre-tax profits of £3.5m to £5.5m, well below forecast of £7.8m.

Record year of results for Ironmongery Direct 27 March 2014
Ironmongery Direct posted a turnover of £22.1m up 22% on 2012, achieving its ninth consecutive year of growth in the process.

Rustic laminate flooring is a trendsetter for next season 27 March 2014
The Association of European Producers of Laminate Flooring says that manufacturers are kicking off the new laminate flooring season with rustic light and medium earth tones.

The Garden Centre Group acquires Brooks Nursery & Garden Centre as its 140th store 26 March 2014
After 10 acquisitions in 2013, Brooks Nursery & Garden Centre in Bude, Cornwall, becomes TGCG's 140th store and its first acquisition of 2014.

Kingfisher results: stellar year for Screwfix 25 March 2014
Screwfix was confirmed today as the star performer of Kingfisher Group's brace of UK businesses as the company announced its preliminary results for 2013/14.

High streets draw more independents while chains back out 25 March 2014
New figures released today show that entrepreneurship is still thriving in UK high streets, with traditional independent shops increasing whilst chains continue to retreat.

First-half profit will almost double at Topps Tiles 25 March 2014
Topps Tiles said today that with its strong first-quarter performance having continued into the second it now expects "a significantly improved profit performance" for the year.

Kingfisher sells its share of Hornbach and reveals new plan to tackle Chinese DIY market 25 March 2014
In a deal struck last night the parent company of B&Q and Screwfix sold its 21.2% stake in German DIY chain Hornbach for £195m.

Perfect storm of timber demand creates 'long-term fence shortage' 24 March 2014
The destructive storms that raged over the winter and a resurgence in the construction industry have combined to leave the UK with a long-term shortage of fence panels.

It's an ill wind as winter storms drive home improvement sales 24 March 2014
One of the most extreme winters on record has had a devastating effect on homes across the country - but delivered a huge boost to the home improvement market.

Five furnishing chains agree to change pricing practices following OFT investigation 21 March 2014
Carpetright and four other firms were all subject to the pricing investigation by the Office of Fair Trading.

Scotts "delighted" about Solus acquisition 21 March 2014
Still in the period of due diligence, no details of the deal can be released, but supplier Scotts Miracle-Gro confirmed that it is in negotiations to acquire garden wholesale business Solus Garden & Leisure and is pleased with the progress to date.

Garden Centre Group names Marie Curie as charity partner 21 March 2014
GCG announces its first national charity partnership, pledging to try and raise more than £500,000 for Marie Curie through a programme of gardening-inspired fundraising, volunteering initiatives and commercial activity.

Rainy Day Trust says Suttons Seeds is blooming generous 20 March 2014
Suttons Seeds has donated dozens of packets of flower seeds for all the beneficiaries of the home improvement industry charity Rainy Day Trust.

Great year for Next as profits rise by 11.8% 20 March 2014
Next's sales for year ending January 31 2013 grew 5.1%, beating expectations.

DIY store targeted by thieves three times in 18 months 20 March 2014
Thieves stole £400 worth of stock from Dovercourt DIY store in Kingsway, Essex, after breaking into the backyard.

New look for Irish DIY retailer Woodie's 20 March 2014
Woodie's DIY drops the DIY from its logo following a rebrand.

Wickes supervisor sentenced for pocketing £800 in refund scam 20 March 2014
Matthew Ansaldo Taylor was found guilty of falsifying customer details on 12 receipts at the Wickes store in Liverpool.

Van Hage and Waitrose unveil plans for joint development 20 March 2014
Plans have been revealed that would see Waitrose incorporate a new supermarket on the site of the Van Hage garden centre at Great Amwell, Hertfordshire.

Garden Re-Leaf Day boosts charity funds and garden sales 20 March 2014
More than 230 garden centres nationwide attracted thousands of customers to special events and fund-raisers last Friday and across the weekend, as part of Garden Re-Leaf Day.

February's rain cleared shoppers out of high streets 19 March 2014
February's prolonged rain washed shoppers away from high streets and into the more protected environment afforded by out-of-town shopping locations.

B&Q makes 100 more redundancies in bid to simplify business 19 March 2014
The jobs will be cut from B&Q's head office as the company looks to transform itself into an omnichannel retailer.

Vivid Arts wins Best Display Stand at Home Hardware show 19 March 2014
Vivid Arts was deemed to have the best display stand at Home Hardware's spring trade show in Exeter last week.

Screwfix plans to add another 60 stores in 2014 19 March 2014
Screwfix has confirmed that there will be no let-up in its ambitious opening programme, which should see a further 60 stores launched in the UK this year.

Garden & Home Press Event celebrates a decade in 2015 19 March 2014
Organisers have announced the date for next year's Garden & Home Press Event - Thursday, February 12 - and revealed that it will mark its 10th anniversary in 2015.

Chancellor hands out measures to boost business 19 March 2014
Chancellor George Osborne unveiled a package of measures to help businesses that invest, manufacture and export, when he delivered his Budget today.

Ikea sees huge spike in sales of outdoor garden furnishings 18 March 2014
As the UK heads into Spring the Swedish retailer says sales of some of its garden furniture have risen by as much as 243%.

Garden centres get ready for GCA annual inspection 18 March 2014
The Garden Centre Association will be visiting hundreds of garden centres across the UK to ensure they are meeting strict membership standards.

Homebase confirms closure of Worcester branch 17 March 2014
Homebase has confirmed that it will be closing one of its three stores in Worcester next month - while the groundswell of opinion against the closure of the Holyhead outlet is growing.

GIMA announces new president, other council appointments 14 March 2014
Bosmere sales and marketing director Steve Millington was voted president of the Garden Industry Manufacturers' Association at its AGM on March 13.

Kingfisher breaks into Romanian market 13 March 2014
B&Q parent has officially opened its first two Romanian stores under the Brico Dépôt brand, in the Pantelimon and Orhideea areas of capital city Bucharest.

Positive end to good year for Homebase and Argos 13 March 2014
Homebase and Argos parent Home Retail Group (HRG) said today in a trading statement that it expects full-year profit to be better than expected, after an encouraging final two months.

Big-ticket items help deliver 'exceptional' sales at Leekes 13 March 2014
Strong sales of kitchens, bathrooms, furniture and carpets helped Leekes enjoy a robust performance over Christmas 2013 and the New Year.

Demand for neutral paint shades surges 13 March 2014
This year is seeing a big uplift in demand for neutral paint colours, with consumers using them as a backdrop for bolder paint colours, furniture and accessories.

Former B&Q chief quits The Co-op 12 March 2014
Euan Sutherland has resigned from the top role at The Co-operative Group less than a year after moving there from Kingfisher.

B&Q's oldest employee retires aged 90 12 March 2014
Albert Billington retires from B&Q's Longwell Green store aged 90, after 23 years with the company.

Hayes Garden World owner is sent back to jail 12 March 2014
The owner and managing director of leading Lake District garden centre Hayes Garden World has been put behind bars - for the second time.

Eco Technology Show returns for a third year 11 March 2014
The Eco Technology Show returns to the Brighton Centre for another two-day show.

Fermoy's director Murdoch moves to Value House Stores 11 March 2014
Alan Murdoch, director of the award-winning Devonshire garden centre Fermoy's, has left the business following its takeover by Blue Diamond.

B&Q invites suppliers to pitch at Innovation Open Day 11 March 2014
Suppliers are being given a chance to pitch to B&Q later this month at a special Innovation and New Products Open Day.

Bosmere becomes a BHETA member 10 March 2014
Bosmere is the latest garden brand to sign up to British Home Enhancement Trade Association.

Millions of shoppers have problems with online purchases 10 March 2014
Almost half of consumers who have bought goods online over the last two years have experienced a problem with their purchase.

Hillier to raise funds for veterans charity 10 March 2014
Hillier Nurseries and Garden Centres will raise money in aid of Blind Veterans UK, the national charity for vision-impaired ex-Service men and women, through the sale of 10,000 traditional wild flower poppies throughout May and June.

Consumers spent 11% more in DIY stores in February 10 March 2014
Data released by Barclaycard reveals that consumers spent 11% more in DIY stores in February compared with last year.

Kent hardware store does its bit for Sochi win 10 March 2014
Some of the 2014 Winter Olympics glory has rubbed off on a Kent hardware independent, which is priding itself on playing a small part in helping Britain win Gold.

Spades and shovels help with flood relief work 10 March 2014
A donation of Yeoman spades and shovels is helping Somerset flood victims rebuild their lives.

Social housing tenants given Wickes decorating vouchers 10 March 2014
A Northamptonshire housing association has partnered with Wickes in a scheme that will give tenants free vouchers to spend on decorating materials in the stores.

Leeds university launches omnichannel retail course 10 March 2014
What is claimed to be the world's first omnichannel retail postgraduate course has been launched at Leeds Metropolitan University.

Candidates get ready to compete to become Rising Star of 2014 7 March 2014
A total of 28 garden centre staff are participating in this year's Westland Rising Star 2014 Programme.

Ironmongery Direct launches management graduate programme 7 March 2014
The firm has already recruited two graduates to its newly-launched 18-month management development programme.

New ad campaign for Homebase 7 March 2014
Homebase has ditched the iconic shipping container in favour of a campaign which encourages consumers to make their house their home.

Petition started against proposed closure of a Homebase store 7 March 2014
Fear that Homebase in Holyhead, Angelsey, could become a pound shop has seen more than 1,200 people sign a petition against its closure.

Court ruling threatens business rescues 6 March 2014
There could now be fewer business rescues via administration and more terminal insolvencies following a key ruling by The Court of Appeal.

JLP drives annual sales over £10bn 6 March 2014
Partners at John Lewis Partnership (JLP) will each get a bonus worth 15% of their salary, the retailer said today, as it announced that it had achieved annual sales of over £10bn for the first time.

Four-generational working could soon become the norm 6 March 2014
A report into the future of the UK's labour market reveals that within the next two decades it could become four-generational, with great-grandparents potentially working alongside their great-grandchildren.

Countdown to Garden Re-Leaf Day 6 March 2014
Garden centres across the UK are putting the final preparations in place for their Garden Re-Leaf Day events next Friday, March 14.

New shopping programme for gardeners launches 6 March 2014
Gardeners will have offers and advice at their fingertips when a new shopping TV programme dedicated to gardening launches at the weekend.

Waitrose and Alan Titchmarsh launch grow-your-own veg 6 March 2014
Waitrose is set to make further inroads into the garden market with the launch of a new range of grow-your-own fruit and vegetables in association with Alan Titchmarsh.

Prices remain stable in DIY, garden and hardware markets 6 March 2014
Like-for-like prices in the DIY, gardening and hardware markets remained stable in February.

Shop vacancy figures fall again in February 5 March 2014
New figures released today show that town centres are continuing to enjoy a resurgence, with a further fall in the number of empty shops.

BRC issues guidelines to protect shop workers from violence 5 March 2014
With more than 36,000 reported incidents of abuse and violence against retailers last year, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) has issued guidelines with advice on how to protect employees.

Cumbrian ironmonger's shop to close 5 March 2014
An ironmonger who has worked in his Cumbrian shop since he was a schoolboy is now closing down the business for good.

Slees triumphs in Home Hardware's Dulux window contest 5 March 2014
Staff at Slees Home Hardware in Braunton, Devon are celebrating after hearing they had won Home Hardware's Dulux window dressing competition.

Grafton Group makes strong progress throughout 2013 5 March 2014
A stabilised Irish DIY market has seen a revival in the fortunes of the Woodie's chain, and helped parent company Grafton Group deliver an 8% annual rise in revenue.

Garsons Garden Centre awards £2.4m catering contract 4 March 2014
Garsons Garden Centre in Titchfield, Hampshire has invested £2.4m in its catering offer by awarding a new five-year contract to Compass Group's Instore business.

Business rates are not fit for purpose, says MP 4 March 2014
A committee of MPs has urged the government to reform business rates in a bid to save the UK high street.

DIY bathroom guide launched by 3 March 2014
Web app launched by to help consumers solve DIY problems in the bathroom.

Husband and wife retire from running DIY shop after 30 years 3 March 2014
Janet and John Hawksworth of J&J Hardware, Saffron Lane, Leicester, retire after running store for 30 years.


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