Essential reading for retailers and suppliers in the home improvement market

News Archive June 2007

John Lewis tops week with Which? award 29 June 2007
John Lewis' week got better and better following its award for best British Retailer as trading figures for the week to June 23 indicated sales rose 5.1%.

Business news round-up 29 June 2007
Debenhams leases Irish outlet; Carpetright targets investments to fuel improvements; Galiform restructures

Maisie retires from GIMA 27 June 2007
Maisie Slater will end her 17-year association with the Garden Industry Manufacturers Association (GIMA) on Wednesday (July 4).

Webbs of Wychbold wins Ruxley Rose 22 June 2007
Midlands garden centre, Webbs of Wychbold was crowned regional winner of the Ruxley Rose Award for its plants department.

Hunter further increases his stake 20 June 2007
Tom Hunter’s West Coast Capital investment vehicle has taken its stake up to 21.4% by acquiring a further chunk of shares at 1800p a share.

Green light to shine at HTA conference 20 June 2007
This year’s HTA conference will not only be distinctly green in its business agenda, but will also be the first major carbon neutral event in the garden industry.

Hunter gets his 25%; Tesco reduces conditions for shareholders 20 June 2007
Another day, another Dobbies tale to relate.
Sir Tom Hunter has gained 25.57% to block Tesco's cash bid, however it has emerged that Tesco reduced the acceptance level to shareholders saying its bid would be valid with only 50% of the shares taken.

Akzo Nobel's cash offer for ICI could trigger competing bids 18 June 2007
Speculation is mounting that after Akzo Nobel's £7.2bn offer for ICI, any one of a number of bidders – including BASF, DuPont, Dow Chemical, and private equity – will come in to try and trump the Dutch paint giant.

Cerberus ties up deal for Focus 18 June 2007
Focus DIY was sold today to Cerberus. The private equity firm will pay off debts of £174m to bondholders, and bring in two former Wickes directors.

‘Two Bills’ set for Focus DIY 17 June 2007
Two men who revived the fortunes of Wickes in the 1990’s are set to be asked to repeat the trick at troubled Focus DIY.

Battle lines drawn as Sir Tom Hunter increases his stake in Dobbies 14 June 2007
Sir Tom Hunter shows no sign of backing down in the face of Tesco's £156m bid after acquiring a further 10% of Dobbies' shares with backing from investment bank Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander.

Focus confirms sale talks 14 June 2007
Focus DIY has today (Thursday June 14) confirmed it is in talks with US hedge fund Cerberus about a sale of the company.

Argos and Homebase see sales increase 14 June 2007
Chief Executive Terry Duddy is pleased with Home Retail Group's 'strong start' to the new financial year.

New chief executive for NWF Group 12 June 2007
NWF Group has announced the appointment of Richard Whiting to the board as chief executive designate as of October 1, 2007.

Sir Tom Hunter mulls over counter-bid for Dobbies 11 June 2007
It is looking increasingly likely that Tesco will be drawn into a bidding war for Dobbies after it emerged that one of its major shareholders, Sir Tom Hunter, is in talks with rival retailers, including Marks & Spencer.

Home improvement 'on the up' 11 June 2007
UK diyers hope to add £5,000 to value of their property with improvements carried out in the last 12 months.

Butterfly Elite to close UK subsidiary 11 June 2007
Butterfly Elite, suppliers of stainless steel housewares, is in discussions whether to close its UK subsidiary in Eastbourne.

Tesco is shock bidder for Dobbies 8 June 2007
Tesco, has emerged as the shock bidder for Edinburgh-based Dobbies Garden Centres.

Good start to the year for Screwfix 8 June 2007
First quarter results for Screwfix have been encouraging and showed sales growth of 25.9% to £103 million in the 13 weeks ending May 5, 2007.

HTA welcomes Tesco's proposed acquisition 8 June 2007
In the short term, the gardening industry should be cheered by Tesco’s proposed acquisition of Dobbies, the HTA said.

Tasker’s undertakes overhaul and re-positioning of brand 7 June 2007
One of Liverpool’s premier home improvement outlets is re-working its appeal with changes to its website, product mix and internal store environment.

Industry leaders confirm support for DIY & Garden Show and Totally Tools 7 June 2007
Brintex, organiser of the London DIY & Garden Show and Totally Tools, has confirmed that leading trade associations and retail marketing groups are in place for its 2008 show.

Dobbies offer on the table 7 June 2007
The spotlight is on Sir Tom Hunter this week after private equity house Apax revealed it was ready to pay an estimated £143m for the garden centre chain.

Calling the best in gardening 7 June 2007
GIMA has launched its search for the best in gardening products for the GIMA Awards 2007.

Outdoor shines for Woolworths 6 June 2007
Woolworths has seen group sales for the 17 weeks to June 2 up 11.4% as hot spells drove sales of outdoor products.

Update - Focus receives consent to waiver interest payments 3 June 2007
Focus has been granted consent from its bondholders to waive interest payments on notes due in June until the beginning of July.

Focus' suitors work together to tie up deal 1 June 2007
Cerberus Capital Management, a private investment company, is reportedly working with Hilco, the US distressed debt specialist to acquire Focus DIY.

Wake Up to the dangers of carbon monoxide and fire, homeowners told 1 June 2007
Wake Up, a campaign urging homeowners to take all possible precautions to make sure they have early warning of a fire or carbon monoxide in their homes, launches today.

New owners for Cromford Garden Centre 1 June 2007
Cromford Garden Centre in Derby has new owners who are looking to develop the four acre site – an acre of which is currently only occupied by the centre and a cafe.


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