With the rumour mill in overdrive since Friday, Homebase has today confirmed its acquisition of Bathstore, saving the bathroom specialist from administration and considerably strengthening its own bathroom proposition.
The move will bolster Homebase’s bathrooms offer both instore and online in a deal that sees the home improvement chain take control of Bathstore’s website, intellectual property, as well as 44 stores and all remaining stock.
The purchase of these assets was made by Homebase Rooms Ltd – a newly-incorporated company, which was formed on July 10 and lists just two directors: Homebase CEO Damian McGloughlin and Homebase chief financial officer Andrew Coleman.
Homebase will also open a significant number of Bathstore concessions in its own stores over the next 18 months. The bricks-and-mortar retail offer will be supported by Bathstore's strong digital business, which will continue to trade independently from the Homebase website.
Bathstore called in administrators last month putting more than 500 jobs at risk. BDO LLP, the company handling the administration, said it was hopeful of selling the business, which operates132 stores and employs 529 staff, as a goig concern. The remaining stores that are not being transferred to Homebase as part of the sale will continue to trade for a number of weeks while remaining display stock is sold off.
BDO business restructuring partner Ryan Grant said: “In a difficult situation, we have been able to secure the future of the Bathstore brand and the transfer of 44 stores to Homebase to maximise realisations for creditors and protect as many jobs as possible.”
The acquisition is a clear sign that Homebase’s turnaround plan is on track, following the sale of the business to Hilco last May. According to the latest statement, the programme is “delivering ahead of schedule” and the retail business is now “on track to break even for 2019”.
Homebase CEO Damian McGloughlin said: “We are absolutely delighted to welcome Bathstore into the Homebase family. With a reputation for quality service and excellent products, Bathstore complements Homebase’s reinvigorated range.
“Since the launch of our turnaround plan just over 12 months ago, we have been focusing on reintroducing the popular ranges and products that our customers have been crying out for. Through strong cost management and improved shop keeping we are committed to making Homebase the best place to shop for everything you need for your home and garden projects.
“As a result of the hard work of the Homebase team, our turnaround is ahead of plan. While we still have a significant amount of work to do, the customer response to our new ranges has been very encouraging and we are on track to break even this year against a loss of over £100m last year.”
The 44 stores acquired by Homebase as part of the deal are:
Burton Upon Trent
Newcastle under Lyme
Walton on Thames