NEWS Further Homebase closures ahead

As Homebase struggles to agree new rent terms with landlords and continues to review its estate under the terms of its CVA, yet more stores are set to close in coming months. It has been revealed that the Homebase store on Newbury Retail Park will cease trading on September 5, with suggestions that Aldi may be lined up to take on the retail unit. The Homebase in Brecon will also close its doors in coming months, although an official date is yet to be confirmed, whilst another store

on Hylton Road in Worcester has to be vacated by August 30 ready for The Range to move into the site. Following Hilco’s acquisition

of Homebase from Bunnings’ parent Wesfarmers, creditors voted in favour of a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) last August, when the business announced it would be closing around 42 of its stores towards the end of last year and early 2019. However, with a number of other branches set to cease trading, or which have already closed their doors, the final

Notcutts reports 52.5% profit jump

Despite major upgrades to a number of its centres, Notcutts has recorded strong growth in the year to February 2019, with operating profit up 52.5% to £1.5m. Gross margin increased by

0.6% basis points to 47.5% and stock turn improved from 3.4 to 3.9 during the year. Sales were level at £74.7million in a year when four of the group’s garden centres had trading patterns disrupted for extended periods of time due to redevelopment and improvement projects. Work carried out across the

group during the year included restaurant redevelopments at Woodford Park and Dukeries (Worksop) garden centres, as well as full-scale centre redevelopments, covering both retail environments and restaurants, completed at

Booker and Rivendell (Widnes) Garden Centres. In each of these schemes Notcutts’ iconic show gardens were included as part of the developments. Capital expenditure for the year was £10.5million. The sizeable refurbishment

projects that were carried out in the past year form part Notcutts’ five-year strategic plan to reposition and upgrade its garden centre estate. The group confirmed that it has also secured planning permission for

Wayfair to open first UK pop-up showroom

With regards the latest round

figure is expected to be much higher. Under the agreement landlords were able to terminate leases from July 1.

further upgrades at its Solihull and Tunbridge Wells garden centres. Chairman Nicky Dulieu commented on the overhaul the business has given some of its sites and also emphasised the importance of continuing to redevelop remaining garden centres in the portfolio. She said: “We have now secured planning permission for further upgrade projects at our Solihull and Tunbridge Wells Garden Centres. With both of these developments we will be improving and extending our restaurants which are now so important to the overall Notcutts customer experience.” Ms Dulieu, with all members

of the Notcutts board, has also championed the company’s developing e-commerce and digital capability, which is seen as a key component for the company in attracting the emerging millennial customer to gardening. In keeping with this, the business also launched new website and e-commerce platform during the year and Notcutts’ new brand rollout was completed across all 18 garden centres.

Palm Springs’, ‘wild Serengeti’ and ‘Scandi Christmas’. The company has also said

a free craft workshop will be held at the event, and visitors will be encouraged to shop the products displayed via iPads provided at the venue. Wayfair has made its name

Wayfair has announced it will open a pop-up showroom in London on 1 August. The event is being held for one day only at an immersive Soho

townhouse to discover a world of destination-themed interiors trends, and specifically revealing its Christmas 2019 range. Trends include ‘retro

as one of the largest online destinations for home products, with a selection of more than 14 million items across home furnishings, décor, home improvement, and housewares. However this is the retailer’s first venture as a bricks and mortar store, despite seeing success in the digital age. Wayfair also announced the launch of its first store in Massachusetts in the US which will open later this autumn. Shoppers visiting the soon-to-open US store will be able to immediately purchase an assortment of products as well as place orders for delivery to their homes.

of closures, which includes Abingdon, Brecon, Cheltenham, Grantham, Hemel Hempstead, Kingston, Loughton, Market Drayton, Newbury, Rochdale, Sandbach, and Worcester (Hylton Road), Homebase said: “we have been unable to come to an agreement that works for both parties and as such, landlords for these stores have exercised their right to end the lease… “Our priority is to support our

affected team members who have shown us loyalty and energy

throughout what has been an unsettling time.” Speaking to staff at several of

these stores, Homebase is yet to confirm a final closing date and they will remain trading until such a time. A number of other stores that

were not announced as part of the initial round of closures have also ceased trading in recent months, including the following: Bedford, Bingley, Chepstow, Colchester, Dover, Droitwich, Guildford, Scunthorpe, St Albans, Stirling, Wakefield, Warwick, Wolstanton, Wrexham, Yeovil.

Amazon workers strike during Prime Day

UK workers have been staging protests outside fulfilment centres over “appalling working conditions” Employees in Europe and

the US are up in arms over wages and “dehumanising working conditions” during the e-commerce giant’s famous Prime Day sales extravaganza - although Amazon has dismissed claims by unions, calling them “misleading” and accusing certain groups of “conjuring misinformation” to further their own agenda. Thousands of Amazon workers

are staging worldwide protests on two of the retailer’s biggest trading days of the year. Staff at warehouses walked out on Monday, July 15 and more strikes took place on the day Amazon’s Prime Day was set to run until 11.59pm on July 16. Unions have confirmed

that week-long protests are planned by employees in the UK, 2,000 workers are striking in Germany, and in the US, workers in a centre in Shakopee, Minnesota carried out a six-hour

stoppage and held an afternoon rally outside the building on Monday, July 15. Earlier this month Amazon

vowed to create more than 2,000 permanent jobs in the UK during 2019 and promised highly competitive pay rates and industry-leading benefits. However, UK staff are staging protests over what they call “dehumanising work conditions” for many associates working at Amazon fulfilment centres. Demonstrations kicked off

outside Amazon fulfilment centres, including Rugeley, Swansea, Peterborough, Warrington, Coventry, Doncaster and Milton Keynes under the slogan ‘We are not Robots’.

HTA announces theme for this year’s marketing forum

‘The Power of Social’ is the theme for this year’s HTA Marketing Forum which takes place on 16 October 2019 at Horticulture House in Oxfordshire. This one-day event is aimed at all those delivering marketing and public relations in the garden industry and provides top tips and expert knowledge to help achieve marketing targets and growth. Skinny Jean Gardener, Lee Connelly will give his thoughts and insights into social media, including podcasts and Instagram, and Alan Down will

give his account of engaging with the press and the growth and success of his blog, Huw Richards, Huws Nursery, will give a case study into how video can be used to enhance social media. Mr Richards runs social media channels that include his successful Youtube channel “HuwsNursery”. With over 150,000 subscribers, Huw is dedicated to helping his audience grow food no matter what size garden they have. Each tutorial follows organic, sustainable and permaculture principles with an emphasis on reducing how much work need to be done.

19 JULY 2019 DIY WEEK 5

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