Essential reading for retailers and suppliers in the home improvement market

News Archive November 2012

B&Q to partner Sentebale at next year's RHS Chelsea Flower Show 30 November 2012
B&Q will partner Sentebale, a children's charity founded by Prince Harry and Prince Deeiso of Lesotho, at next year's RHS Chelsea Flower Show, with a garden designed by landscape designer Jinny Blom.

Obituary: John Plant, Kitchen Craft 30 November 2012
The directors of kitchenware and former ironmongery supplier Kitchen Craft - Andrew Plant, Richard Plant and Peter Bushell - have announced the passing of John Plant on November 22, aged 84, after a long battle with cancer.

John Lewis enthuses about BHETA Meet the Buyer day 30 November 2012
Building on the success of its previous Meet the Buyer days, the British Home Enhancement Trade Association's recent event with John Lewis produced "some wonderful results", according to the retailer.

BSI and WWF launch guidance over illegal timber 30 November 2012
With trade in wood from illegal or controversial sources still going on, new good practice guidance to support industry efforts in responsible sourcing and sustainable forest management has been issued.

Mobile shopping to dominate Christmas sales 30 November 2012
As 'Cyber Monday' heralds the peak of online Christmas shopping sales, retail experts are predicting mobile transactions to increase ten-fold this year.

Wood-care loses its polish - but light bulbs shine 30 November 2012
With overall wood-care sales down almost £17m year on year between January and October, it is clear that 2012 has been a difficult time for the market.

B&Q's LfL sales improve to -4% as Screwfix continues winning trend 29 November 2012
Kingfisher has announced its third quarter trading results, revealing an overall sales slide of 2.8% like-for-like, settling current revenue at £2.7bn. B&Q UK and Ireland saw sales decline 2.3% to £906m, a dip of 4% LfL, but retail profit was boosted by 1.7% due to higher gross margins.

Homebase unveils new-look store and first Habitat concession 29 November 2012
Home improvement chain yesterday showcased an £800,000 refit of its store in Ruislip, with learnings from its newly revamped Aylesford branch, and the introduction of its first Habitat mini store.

Extended Sunday trading would "fuel supermarkets' greed" 29 November 2012
In the wake of Morrisons and Asda bosses campaigning for longer Sunday trading hours on December 23, independent retailers are divided on whether they would open longer in the hopes of cashing in on last minute purchases, or give their staff the time to themselves.

Travis Perkins rolls out tool hire brand 29 November 2012
Sixteen Travis Perkins branches across the North of England have been earmarked for the roll out o a dedicated tool hire brand called Hire It.

B&Q and Valspar partnership to "transform the paint market in the UK" 29 November 2012

The Valspar Corporation, which owns PlastiKote among other paint brands, has announced a strategic partnership with B&Q which will see the DIY giant supply a full selection of premium Valspar paints in every store.

Watson Home Hardware window is a festive triumph 29 November 2012
First prize in this year's Home Hardware Christmas window dressing competition has been scooped by the Sutton-on-Sea, Lincolnshire store Watson Home Hardware.

Dobbies plans new £8m Garden World for Harrogate 29 November 2012
Dobbies revealed plans this week to build a new £8m Garden World in Harrogate, which, it says, would be a 'state-of-the-art horticultural centre of excellence'.

Innovation the name of the game at Screwfix and BHETA event 29 November 2012
More than 80 suppliers braved the recent floods of the Westcountry to attend BHETA's latest Meet the Buyer/Screwfix Innovation Day at the aptly-chosen Yeovil Innovation Centre this week.

Family firm Bentley Brushware wins manufacturing award 29 November 2012
Bentley Brushware has been highly commended in the Manufacturing Excellence category of this year's Midlands Family Business Awards.

High streets 'being crippled' by empty property tax 28 November 2012
Over 90% of surveyors believe that charges placed on shops and offices are significantly detrimental to the recovery of the nation's town centres.

Utilities supplier Burdens goes into administration 28 November 2012
Just weeks after selling part of its business to builders merchant Wolseley, the utility and civil engineering products supplier Burdens has gone into administration.

125 more Comet stores to close by Christmas 28 November 2012
Another 125 Comet stores are set to face the axe next month, administrators of the electrical chain announced today.

Compulsory withdrawal for dangerous hammer 28 November 2012
A hammer has been compulsorily withdrawn from the market after it was found that parts can fly off when it is being used.

Haskins celebrates success of new £2.3m restaurant 27 November 2012
Management at Haskins raised a glass this month to the first-year success of a new restaurant at one of its garden centres.

Back on Topp 27 November 2012
Flooring specialist Topps Tiles has announced a £2.2m increase in revenue, delivering a pre-tax profit of £12.5m for the 52 weeks ending October 1.

Garden centre manager thief gets suspended sentence 27 November 2012
A manager who stole from the garden centre where she worked and who kept quiet about being sacked for a previous theft has been given a suspended prison sentence.

Whiteleys Garden Centre goes into administration 26 November 2012
A buyer is being sought for West Yorkshire garden centre Whiteleys, which was placed into the hands of administrator Begbies Traynor last week.

Wickes in biggest ever Red Pencil price drop 26 November 2012
Wickes has dropped prices on more than 1,000 trade products as a result of a £7.4m investment aimed at benefitting small UK tradesmen.

Wienerberger scoops four brick awards 26 November 2012
The wall, roof and landscaping solutions specialist Wienerberger is celebrating after scooping four awards at this month's Brick Development Association awards.

Retailers advised to stock up on food as bird visits grow 26 November 2012
Gardman is advising retailers to stock up on bird food as studies show that more birds than usual are turning up in gardens this autumn.

Duck Tape stadium ads are 'natural fit' with rugby 26 November 2012
Duck Tape has invested in pitch-side advertising during this autumn's Rugby Internationals as well as the Six Nations home matches at Murrayfield in 2013.

Monkton Elm wins accolade for keeping it in the family 26 November 2012
Monkton Elm Garden & Pet Centre is celebrating after being named as Somerset's best family-run business at the annual Somerset Business Awards.

Notcutts launches own bird-care range 26 November 2012
Garden centre chain Notcutts has launched an own-brand range of wild bird care products this autumn.

John Lewis snowman tours UK as Bath welcomes Waitrose Food & Home 23 November 2012
The star of John Lewis' 2012 Christmas advert 'The Journey' has embarked on a UK-wide tour, sparking a massive Twitter following as users post sightings of the now-famous snowman.

TV and Twitter fame for "Garden Centre Guy" 22 November 2012
The owner of The Secret Garden Centre in London has gained Twitter fame after appearing in an episode of the BBC's Young Apprentice last week, during which he refused to give young contestants a discount on an olive tree.

Alarming number of garden centres host illegal concessions 21 November 2012
According to concession company First Franchise, "an alarming number" of UK garden centres have concession tenants on site that either have no official agreement in place, are trading after an agreement has expired or have not reviewed their tenants' agreement terms since they installed.

Suspended sentence for garden centre's sex-act son 21 November 2012
A member of the family that operates a Kent garden centre has been given a suspended prison sentence after he performed indecent acts in a room on the premises.

DIY and gardening price comparison website launches 21 November 2012
A new product and price comparision website allowing gardeners and DIY consumers to compare the best deals and bargains on tools and equipment available online has been launched this week.

Emulsion and trim paint - the stalwarts of decorative and DIY sales 21 November 2012
The latest report from GfK shows an increase in average prices lead to a 2% value growth across decorative categories during the third quarter of 2012 compared with the same period last year, but that "most sectors remain in volume decline."

Ambiente presents 2013's homewares trends 20 November 2012
Visitors to next February's Ambiente show in Frankfurt will enjoy a preview of style and colour trends in homewares for 2013, within a dedicated display.

HTA catering conference to focus on GC catering 20 November 2012
The Horticultural Trades Association's fourth garden centre catering conference will take place on Thursday, February 28 at the Crowne Plaza, Birmingham NEC, and has been designed to epitomise best practice in the lucrative world of garden centre dining.

Brita 'chlorine impurity' claims were not misleading 20 November 2012
The Advertising Standards Authority has ruled in water filter specialist Brita's favour after one of its advertisements was accused of being misleading.

Shop vacancies achieve new high, says BRC 19 November 2012
Town centre vacancies last month hit the highest figure recorded by the BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor since the service was first set up in July 2011.

Administrators to close 41 Comet stores 19 November 2012
Comet's administrators announced today that 41 of the electrical chain's stores will be closed by the end of November unless a buyer can be found.

John Lewis launches first apprenticeship programme 19 November 2012
John Lewis is taking on 80 young apprentices in 2012 in a programme that guarantees employment for all participants when their training is complete.

"Grossly unfair" B&Q voucher scheme continues 16 November 2012
An independent DIY retailer in South Shields has told DIY Week he is "disappointed but not surprised" after his appeal for inclusion in a social housing voucher scheme was turned down by South Tyneside council, which is continuing its exclusive partnership with B&Q well into 2013.

Indie retailers cash in on Christmas 16 November 2012
A new campaign called 'Celebrate an Independent Christmas' is taking the country's independent retail community by storm.

Pet gifts and craft products set to fill Christmas stockings 15 November 2012
Pets could have a happier Christmas this year than grandparents if last year's festive shopping habits are repeated in 2012.

Swingeing new taxes will set tableware prices soaring 15 November 2012
Retailers are bracing themselves for a punishing rise in the price of tableware and ceramic kitchenware after the European Commission today announced the immediate imposition of new taxes.

Robert Dyas CEO Coles quits 14 November 2012
In yet another shake-up at the top, Robert Dyas chief executive officer Graham Coles is leaving the business - just four months after it was acquired by Theo Paphitis.

Bodum to do more tests after fire-risk barbecue recall 14 November 2012
Bodum says it is bringing in an independent risk assessor to test its barbecue grill after the authorities ordered it to be withdrawn from the market.

DIY Week Awards: Gold winners revealed 14 November 2012
The cream of the DIY and garden industry was celebrating at the Deansgate Hilton, Manchester last night, as the top products and retailers were named at the DIY Week Awards.

Christmas retail sales 'will grow 3%' 13 November 2012
The run-up to this Christmas is starting better than last year, and while the pressure is not off consumers, most factors are more positive.

B&Q Christmas ad focuses on feel-good factor 13 November 2012
B&Q's Christmas campaign breaks tomorrow, November 14, the ad aiming to encourage consumers to decorate and titivate their homes in time for the big day.

Electrical accessories are deemed dangerous 12 November 2012
Two electrical accessories are amongst the latest products highlighted by authorities as posing a danger to end users.

John Lewis weekly sales up 18% as it unveils Christmas TV ad 9 November 2012
A later half term coupled with "distinctly autumnal weather" drove customers into John Lewis stores during the week ending November 3, and today marks the retailer's official debut of its latest Christmas TV advert.

JLP launches trailblazing joint store venture 9 November 2012
John Lewis at Home and Waitrose have launched their first joint venture - just two months after Dobbies and Tesco got the go-ahead to trial a similar initiative.

Ash growers told not to "raise hopes" for compensation 9 November 2012
Following its support of the ban on ash imports in the wake of the Chalara fraxinea outbreak, the Horticultural Trades Association has met with Lord de Mauley at Defra to highlight industry concerns.

Irwin lends support to DIY Week Awards 8 November 2012
Tool manufacturer Irwin has become the latest big industry name sponsor of the DIY Week Awards 2012, sticking to its roots with the sponsorship of the Tool Retailer of the Year category.

'It's getting better' says Homebase after Which? slams website 8 November 2012
Homebase has told that it will be investing in improvements to its website next year after it was ranked near the bottom of a survey of shopping sites.

Businesses paying less than "living wage" could be named and shamed... 8 November 2012
...But retailers are noticeably absent from the list of those who pledge to pay staff more than £7.45 an hour.

Woodie’s DIY transactions suffer 10% decline 7 November 2012
Average transaction values were down 2.4% "as customers switched purchases between product categories" at Grafton Group-owned Irish retailer Woodie's DIY during the 10 months to October 31, 2012.

Sheffield council says no to Next Home and Garden 7 November 2012
Next's plans to build a new Home and Garden superstore in Sheffield were thwarted this week when Sheffield City Council refused planning permission for the development.

Like for likes up 3.2% during Pets at Home's first half 7 November 2012
As pet retailer Pets at Home revealed a 7% sales increase (up 1.3% LfL) for the 52 weeks ending March 31, 2012, bringing its turnover to £544.3m, ceo Nick Wood has hinted that LfL revenue has increased even further for the year to October 11, 2012.

Lake District ironmongers take on Home Hardware identity 7 November 2012
Lake District hardware shops Middletons of Kendal and Musgraves of Windermere have both recently taken on the Home Hardware identity.

Exclusively Housewares 2013 sold out 7 November 2012
Exactly four months after its 2012 show, organisers of Exclusively Housewares have published the full exhibitor list for 2013 - the second year running the show has sold all its spaces in so little time.

October footfall and sales figures disappoint 6 November 2012
Hopes of a retail revival, raised by September's better figures, have been dashed by new statistics revealing disappointing footfall and poor sales in October.

Totally shows' exhibitor line-up grows 6 November 2012
With just three months to go before the 2013 Totally shows open, online registration has now gone live.

Comet collapse 'could still profit OpCapita' 5 November 2012
Last week's rumours that electrical chain Comet was on the verge of collapse were confirmed on Friday when it called in the administrators.

GCG appoints new chief exec to "drive change" 5 November 2012
Following the sudden departure of Nicholas Marshall, The garden Centre Group has announced the appointment of Kevin Bradshaw as ceo and Nils Steinmeyer as cfo to help drive change and bring GCG "in line with Terra Firma's plans"

Wayfair enjoys good growth in first UK year 5 November 2012
Wayfair, the United States' largest online retailer of homewares and home furnishings, has chalked up £20m of sales in its first year of UK trading from

Home Hardware Scotland adds new members 5 November 2012
Further success for buying group, as it adds three new shops, bringing its total membership to 63 throughout Scotland and the North of England.

Wolseley buys branches from utilities supplier Burdens 5 November 2012
Burdens, a supplier of utility and civil engineering products, has sold part of its business to builders merchant Wolseley.

Willowbrook Garden Centre set to re-open after flooding 2 November 2012
A Somerset garden centre will re-open tomorrow, November 3, six weeks after a devastating flood caused the business to shut down.

New high for Home Hardware Christmas promotion 2 November 2012
A record number of over 1.3m Christmas brochures and leaflets has been ordered by Home Hardware retailers.

Homebase to close 40 stores over next five years 1 November 2012
Following its half-yearly results, in which Homebase saw a like-for-like sales drop of 6.2%, Home Retail Group has announced it will be closing up to five stores before the end of the current financial year, and has no plans to open any new ones.

Which? ad did not mislead, watchdog decides 1 November 2012
Which? has successfully defended itself against a viewer who complained to the ad watchdog about its television advertisement.

DIY Week Awards: Shortlisted retailers revealed 1 November 2012
As the November 13 awards ceremony draws ever closer, judges have finished the gruelling task of shortlisting retailers for Gold in the 2012 DIY Week Awards. Standards were particularly high this year, and judges faced a tough task with two new categories - Store Manager and Retail Communicator - thrown into the mix.

Wyevale Woodbridge opens Mountain Warehouse concession 1 November 2012
As part of The Garden Centre Group's ongoing roll-out of concessions within member centres, Wyevale Woodbridge Garden Centre recently opened a new standalone Mountain Warehouse store within a purpose-built retail building onsite.

US Pyrex manufacturer goes to court over shatter claims 1 November 2012
The company that makes Pyrex in the US has taken the publisher of an article to court over claims that the products are dangerous.


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