Essential reading for retailers and suppliers in the home improvement market

DIY and gardening to be retail champions of 2013

Published: 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.
DIY and gardening to be retail champions of 2013
UK retail in general is set to grow 1.8% to £300.7bn, the highest rate since the recession began - but this is mainly due to rising prices, warns Verdict. And while the predicted growth in the DIY and gardening sector is good news, the report points out this is reflective of declines in the previous two years.

The bounce-back performance from gardening is expected to fuel growth in the sector, following the severe impact of the weather on sales in 2012. "Against such harsh comparatives," says Verdict, "we forecast that the greenstock and growing sectors in particular will achieve exceptional growth in 2013."

DIY retail, meanwhile, is set to receive a particularly buoyant boost in the decorative materials sub sector. Shoppers taking on small decorating projects to freshen up homes and make minor repairs in preparation for selling will be the driving factor for this, according to the report.

"Another trend we forecast happening will be DIY specialists rationalising space," says Verdict, "which is set to decline by 1.1%. As well as weaker independents being forced out of the market, DIY superstores are in the process of reducing their footprint, either by closing stores or sub-letting excess space to third party retailers.

"The superstores are using online not just as a sales channel, but as a means to drive footfall into stores, especially through reserve and collect facilities. However, retailers must ensure they get the right balance between maintaining sales while reducing space."

For the furniture and floorcoverings sector, the quarter-on-quarter easing of steep declines from Q2 2012 onwards is set to continue, with growth projected by Q3 2013. This will be driven by a rise in housing transactions in Q3, but the report also notes that the initial increase will be due to inflation.

Homewares, too, is predicted "meaningful recovery" with volume growth set to be positive for the first time since 2008. Although the housing market is unlikely to recover significantly until 2014, consumers are predicted to spend more in anticipation of better market conditions. Scratch cooking, home baking and television cookery programmes are set to once again be a driving force for homewares, and online is set to be "a key battleground between the established players and bright new entrants in 2013."

Food remains the main driver behind retail growth at 2.9%, but this is vastly due to price inflation, with volume growth just 0.2%. Non-food, meanwhile, will return to growth with a forcasted uptake of 0.8%.

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