Screwfix is scheduled to open its first dedicated DIY store on Saturday (March 24) at Shepton Mallet in Somerset. Named DIY Express, the 5,000sq ft store is located at the Haskins Retail Centre.
DIY Express Ltd was incorporated in September last year. The directors are Graham Bell and Jon Mewett, both directors of Screwfix Direct. There is no indication in the company's registration details of a direct link with B&Q, which like Screwfix is owned by Kingfisher, but the opening comes after many years of speculation about the possible development of a small-format B&Q store.
The store opening will be hosted by Ground Force's Charlie Dimmock and Julia Kendall of DIY SOS, together with Shepton Mallet council chairman Chris Inchley. The first 100 customers will receive a free 23-piece DIY tool kit, and all customers will have the chance to meet the Dulux dog, and win £250-worth of Dulux paint on the day.
"With the DIY season upon us, we're really excited to be opening the first ever DIY Express in Shepton Mallet," said store manager John Stinchcombe. A second DIY Express is scheduled to open at Hayes in Middlesex next week, and Screwfix has been recruiting staff for the Hayes unit through its website.
Haskins Group MD Kevin Haskins said the DIY Express opening will be a huge boost for other businesses in Shepton Mallet. Existing tenants at the Haskins Retail Centre include Aldi, Edinburgh Woollen Mill, Ponden Home, and Haskins Furniture.
Local competitor Right Price DIY, which seems to have had Shepton Mallet to itself since Focus DIY closed last summer, is responding aggressively to the DIY Express opening. It is promising a free gift to the first 100 customers to spend £10 instore on March 24 - and to ensure a healthy footfall it is offering a blanket '20% off everything' on the day DIY Express opens.