 A dramatic finish to the first season of Stax Predictor saw player John Mellor bag a new Transit van. Launched last year by Stax Trade Centres, players were challenged to predict the outcomes of the 2016/17 Scottish Premier League matches. Mr Mellor clinched top spot while other players won prizes including £5,000 cash and weekly prizes from top brands such as Stanley, DeWalt, Karcher, and Vitrex.  Construction workers are being urged to “Cover Up, Mate” and protect themselves against ultraviolet (UV) damage as part of an NHS campaign supported by Jewson. This initiative is designed to encourage those who spend a lot of time outdoors to protect themselves against the sun and reduce the risk of skin cancer. For more info visit skin/pages/sunsafe.aspx  Centurion has been awarded the European Head Protection Competitive Strategy Innovation and Leadership Award by Frost & Sullivan. Centurion was awarded for its recent investment in the business through a new strategy which included extensive customer and end user research to understand the needs of the market.  Tong Garden Centre has joined Welcome to Yorkshire’s Y30 partnership, a group of Yorkshire-based businesses working with the UK’s leading tourism agency to achieve more together for the county. “It’s been an incredibly busy two years,” said co-owner Mark Farnsworth. “We’re pleased to have provided employment for 100 local people and together we have raised over £10,000 for Yorkshire charities.”  John Lewis reported an increase in home sales for the week to July 8, with outdoor living up 55%; a record for the month of July. Total sales for the week were £86.7m, up 2% compared to last year, supported by strong clearance sales. Home sales were up 0.2% with outdoor living performing particularly well. John Lewis customer director Craig Inglis said the warm weather had boosted sales across a number of lines.

2 DIY WEEK 21 JULY 2017

Business as usual for Thorpes of Gosforth

A Gosforth-based hardware business will continue trading under the name Thorpes after being sold to a local family. Opened as a supplier of household ironmongery in 1947 by Edward Thorpe, Thorpes of Gosforth is currently owned and run by the third generation of the family, brothers Colin and Peter who are retiring this summer. “When we put a sign in our window announcing the shop had been put up for sale our customers were most concerned,” said Peter Thorpe. “We knew we had a loyal customer base in the area

but still surprised when the announcement on Facebook attracted over 11,000 hits. There was much relief when we were able to inform everyone that it would remain a hardware store and be run by well-known and long-standing customers Fred Wilson and his son-in-law Mike Ryans.”

The Thorpes put the longevity and financial success of the hardware store down to its excellent high street location, loyal customers and its ability as a small business to offer a friendly ‘old-fashioned’ and personal service.

Thorpes long heritage will continue under new ownership

“Colin and I are very pleased to leave the business in good hands, confident that customers will not really notice that it has new ownership from September 1,”

Card payments increase, while new £5 note costs retailers millions

For the first time the volume of retail purchases made by card now accounts for more than half of all customer transactions by volume, according to the BRC’s latest annual Payments Survey, which also reveals the cost to retailers of the new polymer notes, with this figure set to “rise sharply”. Cards have become the dominant payment method as retailers’ investment in payment technology has facilitated greater customer choice over how they pay for their goods both in store and online. The report states that this figure has partly been driven by UK customers increasingly using cards for lower value payments. The 2016 BRC Survey examines the methods of payment UK

shoppers are using when buying goods in store and online, how this differs from previous years and the average cost to the retailer for handling each method of payment. Total UK retail sales

rose by 3.5% in 2016 to £351 billion, with a total of 19 billion retail transactions overall in 2016, an increase from 18.2 billion the previous year. Cards were used to pay for £261.6 billion worth of goods in 2016 – accounting for 75% of sales, compared with £254 billion in 2015 which accounted for three quarters of sales. The BRC reports that the introduction of the new polymer

£5 notes is costing retailers millions. In addition to cash handling charges, the retail industry spent £30 million in 2016 on readiness for the introduction of the new £5 note. On top of staff education and awareness, significant investment had to be made to ensure that tills and machines are able to accept and dispense the new notes.

Grafton Group optimistic yet cautious

Grafton Group has reported a strong performance in the half year from January 1 to June 30 2017, benefiting from broadly positive market segment conditions and good strategic positioning in key markets. Group revenue increased by 9.0% to £1.34 billion (six months to June 30 2016: £1.23 billion) and by 6.2% in constant currency; like-for-like Group revenue increased by 5.7%. Selco reported double

digit revenue growth driven principally by the rollout of six new branches, making a total of 54. The business said it remains on course to open at least 10

further branches this year. The traditional UK merchanting businesses reported good like- for-like revenue growth and benefited from the restructuring implemented in the last quarter of 2016.

Grafton says strong revenue

growth in the Woodie’s business was driven by employment and incomes growth and a focus on improving the shopping experience for customers. Monthly revenue trends in the second quarter were markedly influenced by the timing of Easter and demand for seasonal products. “We are pleased with the Group’s first half trading

performance which was better than we anticipated and provides a good platform for the full year,” commented chief executive officer Gavin Slark. “We expect to continue to benefit from both our strong market positions and exposure to multiple geographies and for the positive trends in the Irish and Netherlands businesses to continue in the second half. “While we remain optimistic on the medium term outlook for the UK, we are cautious about the shorter term impact of current uncertainty and pressure on real incomes which may temper growth in spending on housing RMI.”

concluded Mr Thorpe. “We will be around for a short time to ensure a smooth transition and we’re quite sure the business will continue to prosper for years to come.”

Dunelm reports growing online market share

Dunelm says it believes it has ‘arrived’ as a significant player in the ecommerce homewares market in the wake of its acquisition of Worldstores. The retailer said in a year- end trading update that its market share is growing and a fifth of its sales now take place online. It said that total revenue in the fourth quarter of its financial year rose by 17.7% to £240m and excluding figures from Worldstores by 6.7% to £217.4m. Total like-for-like sales, stripping out the effect of the acquisition and of store openings and closures, grew by 3.8%. “The Worldstores acquisition will provide a massive leap forward to our online and store offer that we think our customers will love,” said chief executive John Browett. “The integration is going well and with around 20% of our sales now generated online we believe that we have arrived as a significant ecommerce player in homewares. We continue to invest in the business for the longer term and despite an uncertain consumer environment go into the next financial year with some good momentum.” Plans include next-day delivery for a wider range of products and an improved in-house two- man delivery service.

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