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NEWS Better Bathrooms goes into administration


It has been announced that Better Bathrooms has made 325 staff redundant and closed all its showrooms, trade counters and warehouses. Phil


Pierce and joint administrators. The


with the administration process and support the orderly wind down of the business. Better Bathrooms is said


Gary


Blackburn from specialist business advisory firm FRP Advisory LLP, were appointed as


business entered administration on 1 March 2019 and ceased trading with immediate effect. Meanwhile, 10 employees in the head office and the warehouse functions have been retained temporarily to assist


to be the largest independent bathroom retailer and has 13 showrooms


and two trade


counters. The business employed 362 people across its network, which includes its Leigh HQ, Didcot warehouse


and customer service centre in Glazebury. Phil Pierce, joint administrator and partner at FRP Advisory, said: “The challenges facing the UK retail industry are well known and are putting immense pressure on businesses operating in the sector. Unfortunately, Better Bathrooms has suffered from severe cashflow difficulties and an extended period of soft trading, which has forced the business into administration. Without significant investment or the cash to continue trading, the difficult decision was made to


Cmostores.com doubles turnover following KCP investment


The online construction materials firm, which rebranded as cmostores.com last month, has continued its rapid growth, reporting 100% uplift in turnover since the investment by private equity house Key Capital Partners (KCP) in 2017. Last year, the online building


products retailer saw sales grow by 46%, hot on the heels of sales growth of almost 50% for the year before.


Since the company’s MBO in 2017, KCP has worked with the cmostores.com management to strengthen the senior leadership team, including recruiting Dean Murray as non-executive chairman, Andy Dunkley as CEO and Sue Packer as finance director. KCP has also supported investment in the infrastructure required to sustain the business’ current growth, which included relocating to new 32,000sq ft premises in Plymouth and the introduction of new IT systems.


KCP’s in-house research team also sourced a bolt-on opportunity, wit the acquisition of DoorWeb, and the private equity house supported the firm throughout the transaction. The deal was successfully completed and the new store, www. doorsuperstore.co.uk,


which


was launched in October 2018, succeeded in generating sales of over £350,000 by the end of 2018. CEO Andy Dunkley said: “Ccmostores.com is a fast- growing, disruptive player in the construction materials sector and we need to be able to make the right decisions at a quick pace to keep ahead in such a dynamic environment. “Over the past two years, KCP has been a valuable partner, supporting and challenging us to continue our development and expansion as well as sourcing lots of opportunities for us to consider for both organic and


Building Supplies Online on National Apprenticeship Week


This week is National


Apprenticeship Week, a five day celebration of the great work that companies and apprentices are achieving together across the UK. The campaign


gives both


companies and apprentices the opportunity to showcase the benefits that an apprentice can bring to an organisation and how they can help employers to drive their organisations forward. As beneficiaries


of one of


the UK’s few digital marketing apprentices1, Building Supplies Online is giving their full support to this initiative. Each day this week,


www.diyweek.net


the company will be taking part in the #BlazeATrail social media challenge, where digital marketing apprentice, Jack Harper and Louise Austin, head of marketing and Mr Harper’s manager, will be sharing their insights on the apprenticeships. Each day will focus on a different attribute of the scheme – yesterday was B for benefit – so it will focus on outlining the benefits for potential apprentices and employers. Louise Austin, head of marketing, explained: “We are strong advocates of the national apprenticeship scheme. Jack’s participation and contribution to the marketing team has exceeded


our expectations and within a very short time, his work was delivering commercial benefits to our business.” On Wednesday 6 March, Mr Harper will join apprentices across the UK on a Twitter Takeover day, based on the hashtag #askanapprentice. He will be answering questions from anyone who may be considering an


apprenticeship, outlining


what it involves and sharing his experiences. In parallel, Ms Austin will be available to give the employer’s perspective and address any questions or concerns that prospective employers may have.


acquisitive growth. “We have now doubled the size of the business since KCP’s investment


while generating


substantial cash and EBITDA. As a management team, we are focused on continuing our exceptional performance.”


cease operations. “We will be working with all


the affected staff to support their claims through the Redundancy Payments Service during this difficult time. We know that customers will also be particularly concerned, and they should email Betterbathrooms@ frpadvisory.com with their details. We will be writing to all customers as soon as possible. “We urge any parties who might be interested in acquiring the


assets


Heatwave sees opportunities in lawncare


Johnsons of the business


to come forward as soon as possible.”


In May 2017, KCP invested £8.65million in the business, giving it a majority stake, with KCP partners Mike Fell and James Excell joining the board. Mike Fell commented: “We


recognised the huge potential of this digitally-savvy business two years ago and knew that, with our strong track record working with e-commerce


Lawn Seed is businesses,


we would be able to give it the support it needed to continue its upward trajectory.”


warning that the nation’s lawns will need extra TLC this spring, if grass is to recover from the extreme conditions experienced during last summer’s heatwave and drought. Gardeners must overseed and feed lawns this spring, to restore turf in time for summer, says the lawncare firm, and retailers are in a prime position to advise customers and capitalise on increased demand for product. Johnsons is urging gardeners to take action from mid-spring by overseeding and feeding to nurse drought-hit lawns back to health. The company is anticipating strong demand for lawn seed and lawncare products, as


concerned


gardeners seek to transform patchy, tatty turf into lush lawns in time for summer. According to the Met Office, summer 2018 was the joint hottest on record, together with 2006, 2003 and the scorching summer of 1976. With temperatures peaking at 35.3°C on 26 July, and a lack of rainfall making it the driest summer since 2003 – the nation’s lawns have been left in desperate need of renovation. Last autumn, Johnsons Lawn Seed reported a 300% sales uplift, as gardeners sought to restore lawns that had suffered during the exceptionally hot, dry summer.


Exclusively Shows launch Exclusively Gift


2019 sees Exclusively Housewares & Exclusively Electrical once again working the British Independent Retailers Association (BIRA), and together have announced a new joint initiative for 2019 and the launch of the Exclusively Gift, which it says will ensure that a visit to the show is both productive and cost effective. It was the success of the 2018 BIRA bonus that fuelled the development of the 2019 Exclusively Gift. Last year the appeal of the voucher drew new, lapsed and regular visitors with a better than expected


redemption level. Visitors welcomed the voucher, it provided an added incentive to visit the show, and offered the opportunity to speak to new suppliers and to develop business with their existing account base. The voucher was


also welcomed by


exhibitors as a tool to open new accounts and build business with existing. For BIRA, they benefitted from networking with both visitors and suppliers and consequently have decided to put further support to the voucher initiative and are exhibiting again at the show in 2019.


08 MARCH 2019 DIY WEEK 5


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