Essential reading for retailers and suppliers in the home improvement market

News Archive October 2008

Gardman announces new MD 31 October 2008
Gardman has confirmed that current managing director Andy Bestwick will leave the company after Christmas. Mark Pearson who takes up the ceo position next Monday (November 3) will replace him.

Westfield London Centre opens its doors 30 October 2008
Europe’s biggest inner-city shopping mall to create 7,000 jobs despite tough trading conditions.

B&Q’s light bulb amnesty is bright idea 29 October 2008
DIY giant teams up with British Gas to help customers reduce their carbon footprint and energy bills.

Littlewoods Direct spends heavily on latest ad campaign 29 October 2008
Retailer bucks trend during ‘credit crunch’ and splashes out £5.5m on Christmas advertising campaign.

Woolworths lenders call in Deloitte restructuring experts 28 October 2008
Bank of Ireland division Burdale Financial and GMAC Commercial Finance appoint corporate restructuring arm ahead of discussions to settle Woolworth’s business plan and 2009 budget.

Sparkling results for Cillit Bang owner 28 October 2008
Reckitt Benckiser to post forecast-beating profits up from £334m to £373m.

B&Q signs sponsorship deal with Channel 4 27 October 2008
B&Q has signed a one-year deal to sponsor Channel 4's property shows including Property Ladder, Grand Designs and Location, Location, Location.

John Lewis’ sales drop for fifth week in a row 27 October 2008
Like-for-like revenue down 7.6% to £48.2m for week ending October 18 as nervous shoppers stay away.

High interest Argos payment card described as ‘wicked’ 27 October 2008
APR of up to 222.7% on Easy Shop Card could exploit cash-strapped shoppers in the run-up to Christmas.

Wickes Limerick store to create 40 jobs 24 October 2008
New branch first in a line of stores due to open across Ireland in next five years.

Calling all manufacturers - Channel 4 documentary helps out in hard times 24 October 2008
Renowned businessman Sir Gerry Robinson to offer advice and financial support to some of Britain’s businesses.

Focus relaunches the Payless brand 24 October 2008
Payless, a name which disappeared from the UK diy market a decade ago, is back...

Confusion over Christmas forecasts 24 October 2008
Differing figures and reports leave sales predictions open to speculation for festive period.

Sam's Trade Centre supports BBRA 24 October 2008
Sam's Trade Centre is the latest company to lend it's support to Britain's Best Retailer Awards organised by DIY Week, and sister titles Housewares Magazine, and Hardware and Garden Review.

Poll leaves Wyevale after just four months 23 October 2008
Newly appointed director of e-commerce, Deborah Poll is the second member of senior management to quit the garden centre chain in two months.

Wickes hits half a million 22 October 2008
DIY retailer Wickes has raised a fantastic £500,000 in its first ever national charity partnership with cancer charity Leukaemia Research with plans to extend the partnership until the end of 2009.

B&Q staff star in new campaign 22 October 2008
B&Q has announced that it is launching a new advertising campaign that signals a return to using real-life store staff.

Webbs proves a real winner 22 October 2008
Webbs of Wychbold picked up seven out of 11 awards at the recent Garden Centre Association (GCA) Midlands Area Awards presentation.

Homebase sales drop 10% 22 October 2008
Homebase has reported a like-for-like sales drop of 10.3% for the 26-week period to August 30.

Co-op gets thumbs up for Somerfield purchase 21 October 2008
The Co-operative Group has been given the go ahead by the Office of Fair Trading for its £1.6bn deal to purchase the Somerfield chain.

Re-bookings ‘strong’ for Glee 2009 21 October 2008
Despite a drop of more than 17% in visitor figures from just over 22,000 last year to 18,112 this year, Glee show director Daniel Thurlow was pleased with the show...

Dobbies could triple HO staff 20 October 2008
In what was perhaps the clearest indication so far of Tesco's expansion plans for the Dobbies garden centre chain, the company applied for planning permission to double the size of its head office building in Midlothian earlier this month.

Homebase trials Check & Reserve 20 October 2008
Home improvement retailer rolls out new facility across seven stores, following launch of national 'online stock check' service in May.

Job losses announced at M&S 20 October 2008
Marks & Spencer is the latest high street retailer to announce job cuts in an effort to mitigate declining sales in the face of the credit crunch.

Wilko to trial new look 17 October 2008
Wilkinson has announced a makeover with a new look to be trialled in three of its stores across the company.

HoF to buy Baugur stake? 17 October 2008
House of Fraser has said it would consider buying the 35% of the chain owned by troubled Icelandic investment group Baugur...and that it has the funds to do so.

DIY retailers suffer after TP profit warning 17 October 2008
Shares in the major UK DIY retailers suffered after Travis Perkins, owner of Wickes, reported a 10% drop in sales in September and early October.

MFI stores to close 17 October 2008
The remaining loss-making stores that weren't saved in the management buyout of MFI last month will be wound down soon if no buyer is found.

Further Habitat closures in attempt to curb losses 16 October 2008
Bromley branch the latest in a line of stores axed by the furniture retailer in a bid revive its fortunes

Luft leaves Crown Paints 16 October 2008
Less than two months after a management buyout of the paint company is announced, the chief executive makes a surprise exit.

Baugur denies it is entering administration 15 October 2008
Despite reports, the Icelandic retail group, which has interests in House of Fraser, Woolworths and Wyevale, continues to discuss options with its bankers.

Sir Philip Green to battle for Baugur’s assets 15 October 2008
Interest from private equity firms, including TPG, impinges on Arcadia Group boss’ attempt to gain control of the UK retail empire.

Steamer Trading opens in Marlow, now looks north 15 October 2008
Cookshop retail chain Steamer Trading opened its latest store last week, and confirmed plans to grow the business to 30 outlets within the next three years.

Mica Market is a sell out 14 October 2008
Annual trade show sold out for exhibitors with 66 top names on show, including Draper Tools, Everbuild, LG Harris and Brabantia.

UK sales fall 1.5% for September 14 October 2008
Like-for-like sales values down from September 2007 after a previous rise of 3%.

Sir Terence Conran to speak at 2009 conference 14 October 2008
Following the success of the inaugural Housewares Conference last year, the 2009 event is continuing to gather support.

New 'green' Tesco to create 320 jobs 13 October 2008
Plans drawn up for multi-million pound 45,000sq ft store in Caernarfon, North Wales.

Topshop boss to take control of Baugur portfolio? 13 October 2008
Sir Philip Green flies to Reykjavik to negotiate a deal with Government ministers to buy the retail group’s debt.

Iceland founder drops interest in Woolworths 13 October 2008
Chief executive Malcolm Walker now considering plans to buy up parts of the Baugur-owned frozen food chain.

Government's actions 'half-hearted', says BHF 10 October 2008
Managing director Alan Hawkins provides with his take on the economic situation, the interest rate cut and the increase to the National Minimum Wage.

Another big-ticket retailer in trouble 10 October 2008
Land of Leather's pre-tax profits drop 88% as the furniture retailer reports a full year loss of £0.4m compared to a profit of £16m last year.

Home Hardware Southwest opens new warehouse 10 October 2008
New 54,000 sq ft site in Bedford hoped to generate more than £10m for wholesaler.

Alan Sugar buys into Woolworths 10 October 2008
Entrepreneur and TV personality Sugar snaps up 3.9% of High Street chain.

Last credit insurer pulls out of Woolworths 9 October 2008
High street chain’s woes deepen as Corface withdraws cover for suppliers amid concerns for retailer’s financial health.

Poundland profits up 122% 9 October 2008
Discount retailer’s operating profit climbs to £8m following strong sales growth and an increase in AB demographic shoppers.

Magnet's cost reductions 'common practice' 9 October 2008
Company releases statement justifying supplier letter calling for 5% cost cuts.

B&Q to close distribution centre 9 October 2008
150 jobs threatened as business review finds Scunthope site to be unnecessary.

Rosebys to close 70 stores 8 October 2008
Home furnishing retailer may close up to 70 stores in the next two weeks after the company entered administration last Friday.

Rainy Day Trust gets in the swing 8 October 2008
More than 90 golfers from the industry's suppliers, service providers and leading retailers took part in the annual Rainy Day Golf Challenge at Brocket hall.

Industry sees significant declines...but not in all sectors 8 October 2008
GfK's Spotlight on DIY reveals that some areas of the market are up as much as 34%, suggesting a growing 'don't move, improve' mentality.

BRC welcomes Bank of England's decision to cut interest rates 8 October 2008
British Retail Consortium believes 0.50% cut is 'the kind of decisive action needed in the current financial turbulence'.

Joy stores bought by founder 8 October 2008
It was announced today that a buyer had been found for 12 of Joy's 28 retail stores. And it appears that of the two brands, Joy and cookshop brand Hob, it may be that Hob is the one to survive. Read more...

Asda launches Direct offer 7 October 2008
Expansion of non-food arm steps up supermarket’s challenge and takes it head to head with Tesco and Argos.

BHS sees profits plummet but homewares holds up 7 October 2008
It was bad news for department store group British Home Stores this morning, as it reported a drop of 34% in annual profits. However, Home was one of its star departments.

MFI divisions in administration after MBO 7 October 2008
MFI's retail and property divisions were placed into administration yesterday after chief exec Gary Favell completed an MBO which saved 106 stores.

Focus to axe 750 jobs 6 October 2008
Following a review of the business, DIY chain calls staff to attend store meetings to hear details of redundancies.

More woe for big ticket retailers 6 October 2008
MFI is to place between 90 and 100 of its 192 stores into administration this week, according to reports over the weekend, with a loss of more than 1,000 jobs. While Magnet Kitchens has informed its suppliers that they must accept a 5% reduction on all prices from this month on. Read more...

BHF Finance reduces vehicle loan rates 3 October 2008
Members to benefit as rates for used cars and vans are brought in line with new vehicles.

Seeds not 'sow' reliable 3 October 2008
Annual Which? Gardening report reveals some leading flower and vegetable seed brands are still 'not up to scratch'.

Decco supports DIY Dinner 09 3 October 2008
Decco has confirmed its support for the Rainy Day Trust (RDT) by again sponsoring the raffle at the DIY Charity Gala Dinner, held in aid of the industry charity.

John Lewis sees weekly sales slide 3 October 2008
John Lewis has blamed the deepening credit crisis, or rather the coverage it is getting in the media, combined with unseasonably sunny weather for an 8.3% fall in sales for the week ending September 26.

Scotts announces Humax purchase 2 October 2008
The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company has announced the purchase of Humax for an undisclosed sum.

Notcutts buys NWF centres 2 October 2008
Notcutts has been revealed as the buyer for the six NWF garden centres which were put up for sale in August this year.

Bridgemere Garden World to be demolished 2 October 2008
The Nantwich centre is to be demolished, it has been announced, to make way for a brand new, improved multi-million pound centre.

Hillhout merger creates new company 2 October 2008
Garden timber manufacturer Hillhout has merged with Dutch brand Gouderak BV, creating one of the largest garden timber firms in Europe.

National minimum wage increases by 3.8% 1 October 2008
One million UK workers to benefit from the hourly rise, which is effective from today.

B&Q launches new City & Guilds qualification scheme 1 October 2008
DIY chain becomes first UK retailer to offer nationally recognised Home Improvement Qualification.

Crown buyout completed 1 October 2008
The management team of Crown Paints has today completed its buyout of the business from parent company Akzo Nobel.


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