Essential reading for retailers and suppliers in the home improvement market

News Archive February 2009

Grafton Group UK turnover down only 1% 27 February 2009
The Grafton Group announces its results for 2008 with profits down but an overall strong balance sheet on the back of its property portfolio.

The Independent lists top 50 garden centres 27 February 2009
National newspaper details a selection of the top rated garden retail outlets in the UK.

Dunelm Group sees strong start to 2009 27 February 2009
Out-of-town homewares retailer Dunelm Group plc announces its interim results for the 26 weeks to 27 December 2008.

UPDATE: Plasplugs offices and staff both deserted 27 February 2009
With so much uncertainty surrounding Plasplugs DIY Week visited its Burton on Trent facility to get the truth behind the rumours...and found an empty building and confused staff.

B&Q in the top ten of disabled-friendly websites 26 February 2009
B&Q has ranked sixth in a survey of the most accessible websites in the country.

Nine years of Excellence for Grosvenor 26 February 2009
Chester-based garden centre receives prestigious Garden Centre of Excellence for the ninth consecutive year.

Akzo Nobel announces board changes 26 February 2009
Chairman of Akzo’s supervisory board resigns from his position due to ill health.

Wyevale Group now under Bank of Scotland control 26 February 2009
Bank of Scotland, part of the Lloyds Group, has taken a majority share in Wyevale Goup after a re-financing deal.

Retailers unaware of proposed 5% rate increase? 26 February 2009
Some of the UK's top retailers are highlighting a potential increase in the Uniform Business Rate (UBR), which many retailers may be unaware of.

The Home Depot announces Q4 losses of $54m 25 February 2009
The Home Depot, the world's largest home improvement retailer, has reported a fiscal 2008 Q4 consolidated net loss of $54m.

Two more arrested in Jewson fraud probe 25 February 2009
Detectives investigating the alleged £1m fraud at builders merchants chain Jewson, which saw the sales director sacked last year, have arrested two more men.

Garden furniture firm fined after worker loses part of finger 24 February 2009
The Health and Safety Executive has prosecuted a furniture firm after an accident severed the top of an employee's finger.

Uncertainty over future of Plasplugs 24 February 2009
Reports this morning suggest Plasplugs may be in trouble after running into financial difficulties.

Akzo Nobel posts €1.1bn loss in Q4 results 24 February 2009
Dutch chemicals company reports first annual loss in eight years following a €1.2bn writedown on British paint group ICI, which it acquired last year.

BHETA offers discounted credit insurance 23 February 2009
A trade association is offering members the a new credit insurance scheme to help traders battling against the recession.

E.coli found in Welsh garden centre fountains 23 February 2009
Research by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health in Wales has found the potentially lethal E.coli in water used for ornamental fountains in garden centres.

Bush turns down job at DIY store 23 February 2009
Former US president pays visit to Elliot’s Hardware in Dallas, Texas after the chain offered him a job as a greeter.

BMF attacks 'loss leading' loft insulation for £1 20 February 2009
The Builders Merchant Federation has attacked a system which allows the big DIY sheds to sell 'loss leading' loft insulation.

Office of National Statistics says non-food sales are rising 20 February 2009
In figures released today the Office of National Statistics said sales volume in the three months November to January rose by 1.5% compared with the previous three months.

British Retail Consortium announces new chairman 20 February 2009
Luke Mayhew has been appointed to succeed Sir Geoff Mulcahy as chairman of the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

Kingfisher sees sales slip 5.5% 19 February 2009
In its Q4 trading statement, released this morning, B&Q parent company Kingfisher announced a like-for-like sales decline of 5.5% for the quarter across the business - a less dramatic fall than some analysts had been predicting.

Travis Perkins underperforms but Tile Giant sales up 19 February 2009
Travis Perkins group operating profits fell 15.1% to £271.5m from last year's £319.9m despite cuts to staff numbers and reducing expansion targets.

ASDA announces bumper profits for it fourth quarter 18 February 2009
ASDA the supermarket chain owned by Walmart has announced like for like sales growth for its fourth quarter was up 7.2%.

Garden centre to double in size 18 February 2009
A council has given the green light to plans for a garden centre to more than double in size.

Glee to downsize again to create more buzz 18 February 2009
Slow bookings by independents and the need to create a better buzz will see this year's Glee show take place in less than half the number of halls it did in 2008.

Messe Frankfurt Italia announces new homeware show 18 February 2009
Ambiente Italia - the international trade fair organized by Messe Frankfurt Italia- will be held from 6 to 8 June 2009 in Rome.

New md at Emap Connect 18 February 2009
Louise Young to take up role next month following the departure of current Emap md Alison Jackson.

Closed Woolworths store to reopen as a Wellworths 17 February 2009
A former Woolworth's store manager has bought her old branch and intends to reopen it under the new Wellworths brand.

M&S signs UK retail's biggest renewable energy contract 17 February 2009
The six year deal will see npower provide M&S with 2.6TWh of renewable electricity from April 2009 - enough to ultimately power all of the retailer's stores and offices in England and Wales.

Kbbreview EXPO 2009 postponed 17 February 2009
Organisers of kbbreview EXPO, which was due to run at London's Excel on May 10-12 have announced the show is to be postponed.

Merchants see 'massive fall in sales' says BMF 17 February 2009
The Builders Merchants Federation has reported merchants are being hit "extremely hard" by recession according to their latest figures.

Topps Tiles credit insurer pulls cover 17 February 2009
Topps Tiles has announced that a credit insurance company has withdrawn cover to its suppliers.

Half of households cut back on employing help 16 February 2009
Consumers are becoming more self-reliant when it comes to jobs around the home.

Tesco unveils new designer homeware line 16 February 2009
The designer Elspeth Gibson is launching a new collection of homeware exclusively for Tesco.

Focus DIY launches loft insulation price war 13 February 2009
Focus DIY is slashing prices on its loft insulation following the news B&Q has cut prices of a roll to £1.

'Improve not move' proven 13 February 2009
The current economic climate and depressed housing market are causing people to spend more on home improvements, according to the latest figures from Sainsbury's Finance.

Landsbanki to keep House of Fraser stake 13 February 2009
Following a meeting between Landsbanki and the House of Fraser management team, a joint announcement has been made saying the Icelandic bank will retain a stake in the British department store group.

Light bulbs sale brighten up retail gloom 13 February 2009
Environmentally friendly light bulbs are proving resilient stock as their sales continue to grow according to new research.

Legal action threatened against Woolworths administrators Deloitte 12 February 2009
Woolworths administrators Deloitte is being threatened with legal action over its handling of employees redundancy payments.

Makro proposes store closures 11 February 2009
Cash & carry chain Makro, which carries DIY, housewares and furnishing products, has proposed to close three stores. understands that staff have been informed this morning.

B&Q to sell rolls of loft insulation for £1 11 February 2009
B&Q will sell a million rolls of loft insulation at just £1 a roll in what it claims is an industry first.

Tesco to let customers review non-food products online 10 February 2009
Tesco has signed a deal to allow customers to post reviews of its non-food items for the first time.

January retail sales rise 10 February 2009
Best performance since May, says British Retail Consortium, as sales driven by heavy discounting.

Alison Jackson to leave Emap 10 February 2009
Managing director to leave the company after five years to start a family.

UPDATE: Homebase accused of not passing on VAT cuts 10 February 2009
According to reports, Homebase is the latest retailer exposed as not passing on the VAT discount to its customers.

Catalogue business RS Components slashes jobs 10 February 2009
RS Components, the tool and electrical components catalogue business, is proposing to cut full and part-time posts.

BLP UK goes into administration 9 February 2009
BLP UK - the Doncaster based manufacturer of MDF wrapped profiles and membrane pressed cabinet doors - has gone into administration.

Baugur Group enters administration after bank pulls plug 9 February 2009
The Baugur Group - the firm with stakes in Wyevale Garden centres and many popular high street names - has gone into administration.

B&Q takes wind turbines off shelves 9 February 2009
Turbine range withdrawn from sale after recent survey reveals they don't work as effectively as first thought.

Hobbycraft expands store portfolio 9 February 2009
HobbyCraft has exchanged contracts on two more UK stores as the chain's expands to 41 outlets.

All-In-One to double in size 9 February 2009
All-In-One Garden Centre has bought four and a half acres of land from a neighbouring farm.

UPDATE: Baugur Group's holdings frozen by bank 6 February 2009
The holding of the Baugur Group have been frozen by its bank following its board's decision to ask for credit protection.

Wolf-Garten GmbH saved by US firm 6 February 2009
Garden products manufacturer MTD acquires German tool company for an undisclosed sum.

Dobbies reluctant to pass VAT savings on to its customers 6 February 2009
Garden centre chain staff informed that customers are only to benefit from the cut if they complain.

B&Q announces job cut plans 6 February 2009
The DIY giant is consulting with staff to cut jobs in its head office, the Kingfisher-owned chain said today.

Bents is the best 5 February 2009
Bents Garden & Home in Glazebury near Warrington has been named The Garden Centre Association of the Year for 2009.

Buck & Hickman launches new tool counter 5 February 2009
‘Tooltastic’ counter at the tool supplier’s Southampton branch is first of 15 to be rolled out across the UK.

Baugur Group asks for credit protection 4 February 2009
An Icelandic firm with interests in Wyevale Garden Centres and two leading UK department stores has asked for protection from creditors.

Sofa Workshop trades on but two thirds of outlets close for good 3 February 2009
Part of the struggling furniture business Sofa Workshop has been sold to one of the original founders of the business.

Sales of shovels boom as snow hits 3 February 2009
B&Q reported sales of shovels were up 450% this week on the previous seven days as the country battled against snow and ice.

January DIY sales up but overall trend is down 3 February 2009
DIY sales are taking a hammering as shoppers cut back on home improvement spending, analysis of Virgin Money Card data shows.

Carpetright total sales increase 3 February 2009
Carpetright the carpet and floor coverings retailer has today published its Interim Management Statement for the 13 weeks to 31 January 2009.

Shop Direct buys Woolworths and plans a 'new direction' 3 February 2009
Shop Direct, the owners of Littlewoods, has snapped up the Woolworths name with plans to trade online.

Hurrans garden centres gone 2 February 2009
Garden centre chain Hurrans is the latest retail victim of the economic downturn, as the five-strong group has gone into administration.

Kingfisher completes sale of Castorama Italy for €615m 2 February 2009
Kingfisher plc has announced it has completed the sale of its Castorama Italy business to Leroy Merlin Italy for total cash proceeds of €615m (£591 million), including an adjustment for profit generated between 1 July 2008 and completion.

TK Maxx to expand its dedicated homeware chain 2 February 2009
TJX Europe - owners of TK Maxx - is to expand its HomeSense chain to eight outlets.

Hiatt Hardware finds a buyer 2 February 2009
22 jobs saved as Mascot Metal Manufacturers acquires the Birmingham-based hardware fittings distributor for an undisclosed sum.


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