n Following customer research, Dulux Decorator Centre has taken the decision to introduce hundreds of new products across its branches, bringing a host of new suppliers on board, from specialist paints to cleaning products. The move follows a widespread review of its entire product range and research project to further understand the need of its customers as part of the national retailer’s ‘Centred On You’ proposition. n New research from E.ON has revealed that a quarter (26%) of Brits will renovate or make repairs to their home this August Bank Holiday, and almost two in three (60%) would make their home projects more sustainable if they knew how to. Twice (40%) the number of young homeowners aged 18-24 have stated that all their renovations are sustainable, compared to just one in five (22%) of over 55s. Overall, half (50%) admitted to not knowing what their sustainable home options are and 45% don’t know what ‘sustainable’ means when it comes to home renovations. n Swedish brand H&M HOME is to open a concept store in Birmingham, specifically selling homeware. The first standalone home store launched in London’s Westfield in April 2019. Now, the brand has said it was a success and have plans to open a similar store at Birmingham’s Bullring - just around the corner from the huge two- storey flagship H&M store on New Street. n Patlock – the fitted French door lock – has secured new listings with two prominent national retailers following its appearance on Dragons’ Den. In a major coup for Rectella International, whose Bar-Be-Quick brand holds the retail distributorship for the product, Patlock is now stocked in Argos and Robert Dyas stores, as well as online. n BHETA has welcomed three new associate members to its roster of approved supplier companies. i-Corporate Risk Consultants Ltd (i-CRC) Liz Pinks Marketing (LPMR Ltd) and Prestige Business Travel.


Homebase secures three new concession partners

Homebase has announced deals have been signed with furniture and flooring specialist, AHF Furniture and Carpets, Denby, the Derbyshire based manufacturer of high-quality ceramics and homeware, and luxury bedding and bathroom brand Bedeck,

to become

concession partners with the home improvement and garden retailer. These new concession partners will further expand the range of furniture, soft furnishing and homewares now available in Homebase. This is the latest in a series of concession announcements made by Homebase over the last 12-months, with partnerships already in place with Ponden Home, Tapi and

Silentnight. Homebase

appears on

solid footing, delivering a 21.8% jump in gross profit and £100million cost savings, as the turnaround programme is in full swing with store closures, rent reductions and re-introduction of concessions and popular ranges. Homebase also recently announced 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

Tong opens new £2m play area at the centre

The new indoor play area at Tong Garden Centre has created 39 new jobs for local people.

Grass Hoppers indoor play

has recruited 26 permanent and 13 seasonal team members to work in the state of the art 15,000 square feet indoor play area and the new 200 seater Woody’s Kitchen.

The indoor play roles include receptionists, queue management assistants, party assistants, a party supervisor and a play supervisor. 15 of the 39 have been recruited to work

in Woody’s Kitchen that serves a selection of freshly made pizzas, paninis, barista made coffee and 40 flavours of ice cream. Of the appointments, Tong’s newly appointed head of people and culture, Neil Barwise said: “We are thrilled that our latest

Poundland owner in talks over £3.6bn sale or float

Poundland owner Pepkor Europe is reported to be considering a sale or flotation in September, as it looks to separate itself from parent company Steinhoff. According to the Times, Pepkor will look at a €4 billion (£3.66 billion) sale next month, after refinancing its high-interest debts

and from Steinhoff.

Founded in 1990, Poundland has 853 shops in the UK and Ireland, and was sold to Steinhoff for £610 million in 2016. Steinhoff then combined the

group with its Pepkor discount chain in Europe, alongside its fashion brand Pep & Co. It is understood by the Times

distancing itself

that Pepkor Europe has held meetings with legal advisers and will seek advice next month on a dual track process to explore a stock exchange listing and a sale. Sources said that the business would probably have a valuation of at least €4 billion and was likely to attract significant interest

stock. The company has today announced Ian Penney will be made director of Bathstore, and will be responsible for the roll out into Homebase and its digital offering.

Damian McGloughlin, CEO of Homebase, said: “We have been working tirelessly over the past 12-months to rebuild our range and offer as part of our wide-ranging turnaround plan. Reintroducing complementary

investment in making Tong one of the north’s leading garden centres has created 39 new jobs for local people and we’re delighted with the calibre of people that we have attracted. We wish them all a long, happy and fulfilling career at Tong.” Tong’s owners have invested

more than £2 million to create the new indoor play area that includes a large pre-school soft play area, a role play zone, new party rooms, a play frame and a sports court. The new indoor play adjoins the outdoor Grass Hoppers adventure playground that has been visited by over a quarter of a million children since it opened in 2016.

Grass Hoppers is a 60,000

square feet indoor and outdoor play area at Tong Garden Centre’s Tong Lane site.

from private equity firms. In March, the South African

retail giant confirmed it had overstated profits between 2009 and 2017 in a $7.4 billion (£6.1 billion) fraud.

Earlier last week Steinhoff’s chief executive Louis du Preez said the only way the parent retail group could continue would be by

selling off its

assets to cut debt following what is thought to be the biggest case of corporate fraud in South African business history. Steinhoff is looking to offload its non-retail assets and cut jobs at Conforama – its French r etail chain.

Louis du Preez, who was appointed as the new chief executive in January this year, told investors last week that Steinhoff’s strategy to sell off its assets was the “only way the business can survive”.

concessions is a key pillar of our strategy, and we’re delighted to have three new partnerships. “All three brands have solid

reputations for quality products and are a perfect fit for us as we continue to build our offer. We want to be the destination for home and garden improvement projects and

working with

partners such as Denby, AHF and Bedeck will support our efforts in achieving this goal.” Speaking exclusively to

DIY Week, Mr McGloughlin said he sees potential for new Homebase stores in a number of geographical locations that don’t currently host a branch. Equally,

he believes there is

scope to return to some regions where Homebase has closed an unprofitable store. “We would look at putting a Homebase into one of the Bathstore sites… But, if not, there’s lots of retail space out there. There are big cities with opportunities for us to go back but in a better location.” Read the full interview in the September 6 issue of DIY Week.

Vacancy rate hits four-year low, as high street footfall drops

The latest figures from Springboard reveal, at 10.3%, the town centre vacancy rate in July was the highest since January 2015, whilst the high street recorded a 2.7% decline in footfall for the month. Shopping centres experienced the biggest fall in footfall, down 3.1% in July and high streets recorded a three-month average decline of 4%. Meanwhile, retail parks were the only location to report an uplift in footfall, with shopper numbers up 1.2% last month.

It follows news that July saw lowest retail sales growth on record, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC) as slow wage growth and consumers who remain “disengaged” in the face of Brexit uncertainty resulted in both physical and online non- food stores struggling. The pressure on retail outlets from declining footfall and lacklustre sales is reflected in the town centre vacancy rate, which continues to climb.

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson OBE said: “Retailers have faced a challenging environment this month, with declines in footfall on high streets and shopping centres. Sluggish sales growth and declining footfall also contributed to the rise in town centre vacancies,”

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