CBI survey shows growth in hardware and DIY sector

Bathroom Takeaway awarded quadruple Feefo gold trusted service awards

Bathroom Takeaway has been awarded four prestigious Feefo Gold Service awards across its European operations, recognising its exceptional multi-lingual customer service team.

Feefo Gold Trusted Service is an independent seal of excellence that recognises businesses for delivering exceptional experiences, as rated by real customers from genuine ratings and reviews. Those that meet the high standard, based on the number of reviews they have collected, and their average rating, are awarded. Managing director of Bathroom

Takeaway, Julian Smith, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to receive these EU wide customer service awards and are very fortunate to have such a dedicated and conscientious team of talented customer service representatives. This award recognises the fantastic service that we offer our customers in both the UK and Europe, demonstrating just how important our customers are to the business.”

Feefo is a ratings and reviews, and customer analytics platform that provide the tools to collect genuine, purchase-verified reviews on behalf of over 4,000 businesses. Feefo ensures that all feedback is authentic, by matching it to a legitimate transaction; this is in order to increase consumer confidence, and combat the rising issue of fake reviews.

Retail sales growth slowed for the third month in a row in the year to February, according to the latest CBI Quarterly Distributive Trades Survey, but within the retail sector, growth in sales volumes was recorded in the grocers, hardware & DIY, and non-store goods (i.e. internet and mail order) sub-sectors. Meanwhile sales fell in clothing, footwear and leather, department stores, and furniture and carpets. Growth in average selling

prices remains above the long- term average in the year to February, but eased compared with the previous quarter. Similar price growth is expected in the year to March.

Alongside slower sales growth, employment in the retail sector continued to decline for the

fifth quarter in a row, but at the slowest pace in a year. But for the first time since November 2016, retailers expect their business situation to improve over the next three months. And investment intentions for the year ahead strengthened further, hitting their highest since August 2015. Retailers expect sales volumes to pick up again next month (+21%), with 34% expecting them to rise and 13% to fall. Retailers believe their overall business situation will improve slightly over the next three months (+4%), for the first time since November 2016. Investment intentions for the next 12 months compared with the last 12 months in February (+16%) were at their highest since August 2015 (+17%). Year-on-year growth in internet

sales volumes (+45%) eased slightly from last month (+55%). Robust growth was also

reported in other sub sectors, such as non-store goods (i.e. internet and mail order) (+67%)

and hardware and DIY (+46%). However, this was partly offset by falling sales in department stores (-45%), clothing (-77%), furniture & carpets (-36%) and footwear & leather (-57%).

Screwfix expands with new stores “Declining consumer

Screwfix has had a successful launch of its most recent store opening at Pontnewynydd Industrial Estate. The store officially opened its doors on Thursday February 15, with hundreds of eager customers ready to stock-up on the latest tools and trade essentials. Screwfix is also set to officially open its first store in Malton on March 8 2018 at Malton Enterprise Park. The new branch will create 12 new jobs in the area and will help local tradespeople get what they need as quickly as possible to get the job done. Screwfix’s Pontypool Store Manager, James Winter, said: “We chose to open a new store in Pontypool to better meet the needs of the local tradespeople.

“Our celebration period, which ran from Thursday 15th February and throughout the weekend until Sunday 18th February, attracted hundreds of customers. We have received fantastic support from the local homes or community facilities and are looking forward to welcoming and helping more tradespeople and serious DIY-ers over the coming months.” Screwfix’s new Malton store manager, Luke Melley is proud of the contributions the new store has made to employment figures in the region, he said: “We’ve created 12 new jobs and employed people from around the Malton area. Our new team

includes people with all different levels of experience, focused on providing superb customer service to meet the needs of our busy trade customers. Everyone here is really looking forward to the store opening.” Screwfix currently has a network of over 530 stores across the UK and over 20 stores in Germany with further UK stores planned to open in the next couple of years.

Squire’s opens new-look garden centre in Woking

Squire’s Garden Centres has re-opened its Woking centre following a “significant extension”, which has seen the shop expanded and the catering offer completely revamped. The centre on Littlewick Road in Woking, has benefitted from a complete makeover and now boasts a new-look plant area, complete with an outdoor canopy, as well as a much larger shop, which means the centre can now offer a wider choice of gardening products, gifts and garden furniture. The Café Bar eatery has also been extended and completely refurbished, giving it a light

and airy feel, and an outdoor verandah has been added for customers to sit and admire the plants. A full waiting service is also now available. To celebrate the launch, customers will be treated to live music from Surrey-based classical guitarist Richard Veitch every Sunday lunchtime in March. Squire’s deputy chairman Sarah Squire said: “Squire’s in Woking has been completely transformed yet still remains one 100% true to our horticultural heritage. It’s beautifully designed and landscaped to fit within the surrounding area, and truly retains its sense of place. We hope it will be a

centre that the community can be really proud of, as a local hub, a place for family and friends to get together in comfortable and relaxed surroundings. So come and see our new look garden centre -

we very much look forward to welcoming our customers back, and to meeting new ones.”

As in previous years, the family-run business is getting behind the Greenfingers charity

on Garden Re-Leaf day. This year Sarah and her father, Squire’s chairman Colin Squire OBE will be in store at Woking planting containers as part of the charity day’s Plantathon on Friday, March 16.

confidence” hits Travis Perkins

Travis Perkins plc, parent company of Wickes, Toolstation and Tile Giant has released its full year results for 2017, ending December 31. Revenue growth of 3.5% was reported in 2017, with like-for-like growth of 3.3%. Adjusted operating profit of £380m following investments made to improve customer propositions. Net debt was reduced by £36m to £342m. Travis Perkins also reported encouraging early signs from the Plumbing & Heating transformation plan announced in August 2017. As previously disclosed, an exceptional charge of £40.9m has been recognised in connection with the plan.

Chief executive officer, John Carter said: “2017 was a challenging year for the Group, with continuing uncertainty in our end- markets, and declining consumer confidence throughout the year. The main focus for our businesses has been to recover the significant cost price inflation encountered and on the whole, this has been achieved successfully.

“Despite the challenging

environment, The long-term prospects for our businesses remain favourable, and the investments we have made in recent years give us a strong and sustainable competitive position from which to grow.”


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