The essential news source for the home improvement industry 25 AUGUST 2017

MAKE THE MOST OF GLEE Our 10-page special show preview



A look at the issues surrounding sales of corrosive chemicals p6

REPORT ON TOOLS The latest figures and analysis from AMA Research on what’s driving the tools market

p12 p18

GLOBAL DIY SUMMIT Part two of our report from the international conference


‘Repositioning of business’ hits Bunnings’ profits

Bunnings reported a £54 million loss before interest and tax for its first full financial year of trading its UK and Ireland business since the acquisition of Homebase, as the retailer counts the cost of new store openings and walking away from ‘softer’ product categories. The figure included £19 million- worth of “one-off transition and restructuring costs”, including overheads associated with the establishment of the Bunnings brand in the United Kingdom

and Ireland and the pilot store programme. Operating revenue for the

year reached £1,229 million but parent firm Wesfarmers said trading during the period was affected by “significant disruption”, as it worked to reposition the Homebase business to “a core home improvement and garden offer”. The repositioning of the business marks the first phase of Wesfarmers’ post-acquisition plan and saw the retailer invest in wider product ranges and greater

stock depth, as well as a focus on maintaining low prices. “The volume and pace of repositioning activity affected store execution and, consequently, trading performance,” said the company. Price deflation also had an impact, following the introduction of its everyday low pricing strategy. Sales of kitchen and

bathroom products were particularly disrupted by these changes to the business, as well as Bunnings’ decision to cease installation and in-home services within the category.

Sales growth in other core home improvement and garden categories was “encouraging”, said Bunnings. However it was insufficient to offset the decline in kitchen and bathroom sales, as well as the impact of the exit of non-core ranges, such as soft- furnishings and indoor furniture. Talking to DIY Week in June, Bunnings UK & Ireland MD PJ Davis said Bunnings had made the decision to walk away from a lucrative soft furnishings business because it did not fit with its core home improvement offer.

At the time, he said: “When

we repositioned the Homebase kitchen business, we walked away from about £50 million- worth of business. It was a big call… We also walked away from about £100 million-worth of business in soft furnishings.” He added that it had been “a strategic choice” that needed to be made, stating: “We don’t need soft furnishings to execute home improvement and that’s our belief.”

80% of top garden centres say no to bee-harming pesticides

Eight of the top 10 leading garden retailers and garden centres don’t want the flow- ering plants they sell to be grown with bee-harming neo- nicotinoid pesticides and have told suppliers not to use them, a Friends of the Earth (FOE) survey reveals. However, one of the biggest

garden retailers, Homebase, has yet to commit to working with suppliers to end the use of restricted neonicotinoids, despite being contacted by

thousands of people via an FOE online action.

The survey follows research by leading bee scientist Professor Dave Goulson, published earlier this summer which revealed that 70% of the plants tested from a number of stores contained neonicotinoid pesticides including three products restricted across Europe that have been found to pose a ‘high acute risk’ to honeybees. One of the retailers saying no to neonicotinoids is the UK’s

biggest garden centre Wyevale. It was urged to act on the chemicals earlier this year by over 18,000 Friends of the Earth supporters via an online action after tests revealed that they were selling plants containing neonicotinoids.

Wyevale has now confirmed with FOE that it does not want the three restricted neonicotinoids in its garden plants, saying: “we will be working harder to seek the…removal of the three European banned neonics

from the complete supply chain during 2018.”

Discussing the survey of the 10 leading garden retailers, FOE said it was delighted that these businesses “are responding to public concern and mounting scientific evidence by saying ‘no’ to plants grown with bee- harming chemicals”. Hillview is yet to respond to the survey. FOE bee campaigner Nick Rau said the organisation was “particularly pleased” that Wyevale has come on

board, adding: “We now urge Homebase to follow suit and reject these chemicals.” Earlier this year, B&Q became the first retailer to announce that it was banning suppliers from using all neonicotinoid pesticides in its flowering plant range from early next year.

FOE is urging the UK

government to back moves in the EU to permanently extend current neonicotinoid restrictions to all crops and commit to keeping any ban post-Brexit.


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