Essential reading for retailers and suppliers in the home improvement market

News Archive March 2016

Last year saw smallest increase of indies in 6 years 31 March 2016
The number of independent retailers increased by just 117 shops last year, according to data released by the Local Data Company (LDC) and British Independent Retailers Association (bira), the smallest number since LDC records began in 2006.

Retailers 'amongst hardest hit' as living wage comes in 31 March 2016
Retailers are bracing themselves for tomorrow's introduction of the new National Living Wage (NLW), expecting to be amongst the hardest-hit of all businesses by the new regulations.

Argos sells distribution centre for £75m 29 March 2016
Argos has sold its National distribution centre in Burton-upon-Trent to property investment company Tritax Big Box in a £74.65m deal.

Storm Katie counteracts positive Good Friday high street footfall 29 March 2016
High street shops suffered the brunt of Storm Katie over the Easter bank holiday weekend, according to market research company Springboard.

Homebase's new owner pledges to pay living wage to under-25s 29 March 2016
Bosses at Homebase's new Australian owner Wesfarmers have pledged to pay workers aged under 25 the new living wage.

Cookshop chain Steamer Trading acquires Divertimenti 29 March 2016
The Steamer Trading cookshop chain has acquired up-market London cookshop Divertimenti.

Geka links with London & Lancs for UK distribution 29 March 2016
London & Lancs has taken on the UK distribution of Geka, one of Europe's leading horticultural and gardening brands.

'Do-it-for-me' boosts paint and wallcoverings 29 March 2016
The paint, wallcoverings and woodcare market has enjoyed a welcome boost in recent years - thanks in no small part to the 'do-it-for-me' trend.

Indies told to target the grey pound at BHETA forum 29 March 2016
An upbeat group of speakers gave key advice tailored especially for independent DIY and hardware retailers at a recent forum hosted by the British Home Enhancement Trade Association (BHETA).

Brad Pitt stocks up on DIY supplies at B&Q 29 March 2016
The weather may have put many DIYers off shopping this Easter bank holiday, but A-lister Brad Pitt was apparently not one of them.

GC worker takes to hot coals for charity 24 March 2016
Squire's Garden Centre staff member Lynn Street recently took part in a charity fire walk in West Byfleet to raise money for the Woking and Sam Beare Hospices.

Rainy Day Trust marks 173rd anniversary today 24 March 2016
Founded in 1843, the home improvement industry's own charity, Rainy Day Trust, celebrates its 173rd anniversary today, March 24.

Next reveals 5% rise in pre-tax profits but warns of tough times ahead 24 March 2016
Fashion, home and garden retailer Next posted its annual results today, revealing overall sales up 3.7% and pre-tax profits up 5% to £821m.

Homeworking and leisure drive garden buildings growth 24 March 2016
The relative affordability of garden buildings as a way of adding to accommodation is just one of the factors that helped grow the market by around 3.5% last year.

Rowlinson takes on ShelterLogic outdoor storage 24 March 2016
Rowlinson Garden Products has been appointed by ShelterLogic as its UK distributor of the ShelterLogic lawn and garden range.

Thousands sign petition on B&Q 'pay cut' D-day 24 March 2016
On the day that B&Q employees are being asked to put their names to new terms of employment or face the sack, a petition urging a management rethink is gaining thousands of signatures.

Fiskars launches Easter TV campaign 24 March 2016
With Easter starting early this year, Fiskars has released its fifth multi-media Spring campaign just ahead of the bank holiday weekend.

Kingfisher results: UK retail profit +18%, statutory profit -20% 23 March 2016
B&Q's parent company Kingfisher has released its annual results for the year ending January 31, 2016, with total sales up 3.8% for its entire operation despite a 20.5% fall in statutory pre-tax profits to £512m.

£166,000 garden centre fraudster faces jail 23 March 2016
A garden centre company secretary who was "trusted implicitly" is facing a stretch behind bars after she stole almost £166,000 from the business.

Baby Bio air ambulance support gets off the ground 22 March 2016
Baby Bio has signed a one-year sponsorship deal with Essex and Herts Air Ambulance Trust to support the charity's new Summer of Open Gardens fundraising initiative.

Squire's holds 'plant-athon' for charity 22 March 2016
Green-fingered employees at Squire's Garden Centres recently held a 24-hour "Plant-athon" on March 17 and 18, raising over £4,000 for the charity Greenfingers.

Hundreds of Argos stores and jobs could vanish under Sainsbury's 21 March 2016
More than 300 Argos stores could be in danger of closing should Sainsbury's £1.4bn bid for the retailer go through, according to reports.

Screwfix given top employer award 21 March 2016
Screwfix was recently awarded Employer of the Year and Multi-channel Retailer of the Year at the Retail Week awards.

New Dulux Academy is a first for industry professionals 21 March 2016
Dulux parent AkzoNobel has launched the UK's first academy for industry professionals, including architects, painters and decorators, with an official opening by Minister of State for Employment Priti Patel.

Waitrose ramps up garden presence with new magazine 21 March 2016
Waitrose is aiming to build on its growing share of the horticultural market by launching its first customer magazine dedicated entirely to gardening.

BHETA and GIMA to host Wyevale Meet The Buyer 21 March 2016
Two leading industry trade associations - BHETA and GIMA - are jointly organising a Meet the Buyer day with Wyevale Garden Centres to be held on May 11.

Newry Mica hardware independent closes down 21 March 2016
Mica chief executive Michael Ball has described as "very sad" the news of the closure this month of a long-established hardware independent in Rathfriland, Newry.

EPOS day for Home Hardware (Scotland) members 21 March 2016
Members of Home Hardware (Scotland) benefited recently from a training day on EPOS.

Axminster Tools beats top brands in best internet retailers list 21 March 2016
Devon-based retail chain Axminster Tools & Machinery has been listed in the top 350 e-commerce and cross-channel retailers in the Internet Retailing UK (IRUK) Top 500 report 2016.

Sherwin-Williams to acquire Valspar in $9.3bn deal 21 March 2016

The Sherwin-Williams paint company has agreed to purchase rival American paint supplier Valspar in a cash deal valued at around $9.3bn.

D-Day for Argos 18 March 2016
It's decision day for Sainsbury's and Steinhoff as both retailers must decide how much they want to buy Home Retail Group's Argos.

Howarth Timber doubles prize money for two worthy causes 18 March 2016
Howarth Timber and Building Supplies' Harrogate branch has doubled its community project prize fund after two worthy causes bowled over the company with the good work they do.

BREAKING: Steinhoff out of the running for Argos 18 March 2016
According to reports, Steinhoff International - former frontrunners to take over Home Retail Group's Argos business - has said it won't be making a formal offer for the retailer.

UPDATE: Sainsbury's makes £1.4bn offer for Home Retail 18 March 2016
Sainsbury's has confirmed it has made a £1.4bn offer to take over the ownership of Argos following Steinhoff's dramatic exit just hours ago.

BIRA: 'Budget to help tens of thousands of small shops' 17 March 2016
The British Independent Retailers Association (BIRA) has welcomed yesterday's rates reform proposals by the Chancellor, saying the Budget delivered permanent changes to the way business rates are levied and that tens of thousands of small shops will be helped.

Bond It boosts environmental credentials 17 March 2016
Bond It, the manufacturer of sealants, adhesives, PU foams, waterproofing compounds and other building chemicals, has taken major steps to strengthen the environmental credentials of its products and working practices.

Paint industry first for Dulux 17 March 2016
Dulux's parent company AkzoNobel has become the first paint company globally to achieve the BES 6001 Responsible Sourcing accreditation.

Grovewell Garden Centres makes third acquisition 17 March 2016
Grovewell Garden Centre has acquired its third centre at Hawkinge, near Folkestone, and says it is on target to be open for business by May.

Salter has best stand at Home Hardware show 16 March 2016
Salter triumphed at Home Hardware Southwest's spring trade show earlier this month, earning the title of Best Display Stand.

Gardenex/PetQuip suppliers nail export business 16 March 2016
Thirty-six British garden and pet product suppliers presented their latest ranges to buyers from Dubai, Finland, France, Italy, Spain and the US at the latest Meet the Buyers events held by Gardenex and PetQuip.

Toolstation in line for Which? retailer accolade 16 March 2016
Toolstation has been revealed as one of four companies shortlisted to win this year's Which? Retailer of the Year title.

Former Crowders garden centre reveals new name 16 March 2016
The Wyevale garden centre formerly known as Crowders has been renamed Wolds View following 2,000 votes from the local community.

February brings houseplant sales boom 16 March 2016
Members of the Garden Centre Association (GCA) saw sales of houseplants climb an impressive 30% during February 2016 compared with the same month last year.

Budget 2016: Small firms to pay less business rates 16 March 2016
George Osborne announced plans this week to lower business rates for some 250,000 small firms across the UK.

GIMA boss (and dog) to take part in charity walk 15 March 2016
Garden Industry Manufacturers' Association director Vicky Nuttall will be taking on the challenge of a 20 mile charity walk this Friday (March 18) to raise money for industry charity Greenfingers.

Yale launches Security Spring Clean campaign 15 March 2016
Yale is running a major consumer marketing campaign called Security Spring Clean, designed to drive to demand for security products throughout the spring months and beyond.

Home accessories one of only growth categories in retail during Feb 14 March 2016
According to data released by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) the sale of home accessories was one of just three categories to show retail growth during the month of February, the others being furniture and health and beauty.

WernerCo acquires CDH group 14 March 2016
Ladder manufacturer Werner Company has acquired wheelbarrow supplier CDH, including the Centaure, Duarib and Haemmerlin brands.

BHETA welcomes six new members 11 March 2016
Six companies have joined the British Home Enhancement Trade Association (BHETA).

Like-for-likes drop at Argos, and grow at Homebase 10 March 2016
Home Retail Group has announced its full year results - including figures for Homebase and Argos for what will almost definitely be the last time.

Tile Mountain plans new £10m premises 10 March 2016
Expansion at fresh-faced online tile retailer Tile Mountain is to see the company invest £10m in purpose-built new premises.

MPs reject changes to Sunday Trading laws 10 March 2016
MPs in the Commons rejected proposals to allow councils to extend opening hours on Sundays for larger retailers yesterday.

BHETA makes retailer trade profiles available to members. 9 March 2016
In a new service linked to its Meet the Buyer days, The British Home Enhancement Trade Association (BHETA) is making detailed profiles of the leading multiple retailers available to members.

Cologne hardware show closes on 'excellent' note 9 March 2016
International hardware fair Eisenwarenmesse closed yesterday, with organisers reporting "crowded aisles and full order books."

Bord na Móna grow bag gets Which? thumbs-up 9 March 2016
Bord na Móna UK's Growise multi-purpose grow bag has been recommended by consumer ratings magazine Which? Gardening.

Grafton Group reveals 6% revenue growth 8 March 2016
DIY and builders merchants Grafton Group - parent company to Irish retailers Woodie's DIY - has announced its annual results for the year ended December 31, 2015, revealing revenues up 6% to £2.21bn.

Global DIY Summit: Last chance for early bird discount 8 March 2016
Those interested in attending fediyma and EDRA's fourth Global DIY Summit in Stockholm this year have until March 15 to register and save up to €300.

Court rules retailers liable for staff assaults on customers 8 March 2016
Following a recent decision in the Supreme Court, retailers are being warned about the repercussions if a member of staff were to attack a customer.

Ashford garden centre could be torn down 7 March 2016
Wyevale's Willesborough garden centre in Ashford, Kent, is in danger of demolition due to plans for a new junction off the M20, according to local press.

Leekes to acquire Park Furnishers business 7 March 2016
Leekes announced today that it has reached agreement to purchase Bristol-based business Park Furnishers.

Government to tackle Sunday trading rebellion 7 March 2016
MPs will be debating the Enterprise Bill - concerning the extension of Sunday trading hours - this week.

Pipes and fittings market grew 5% in 2015 7 March 2016
According to AMA Research, the pipes and fittings market is estimated to have grown 5% over the course of 2015.

Sainsbury's says it is still able to make a hostile bid for Argos
4 March 2016
UK supermarket Sainsbury's has made a Stock Exchange statement confirming that it is "able to go hostile" in its bid for Argos following a request from the Takeover Panel, according to The Guardian.

Retailers suffer worst February in two years 4 March 2016
According to the latest high street sales tracker from the BDO, retailers suffered the worst February in two years, with sales falling 1.7% compared with last February.

Wickes reports large revenue growth over 2015 3 March 2016

Wickes' parent company Travis Perkins has released its financial results for 2015, with its consumer businesses - comprising Wickes and Toolstation - growing 8% throughout the year.

Coffee machine trial offered to no-café garden centres 3 March 2016
Small garden centres without cafés are being offered the chance to trial automatic bean-to-cup coffee machines this spring to show how they can boost customer spend.

Tillington garden centres celebrate £200m turnover 3 March 2016
The Tillington Group - of which members include Scotsdales, Squires, Hayes and Webbs garden centres - is celebrating breaking through the £200m turnover barrier.

BHETA forum to focus on independent retail 2 March 2016
The next British Home Enhancement Trade Association (BHETA) forum will take place on March 14 and will feature a range of speakers relevant to independent retail.

BREAKING: Wesfarmers sacks Homebase bosses 2 March 2016
Homebase's new owner Wesfarmers has culled a large proportion of the retailer's management team, according to reports.

DIY chains excel in superbrands list 2 March 2016
Some of the UK's best-known DIY retailers appear in a new top 10 list of 'alternative superbrands'.

Global DIY Summit theme is disruption 2 March 2016
Disruption has impacted many global industries including the home improvement sector - and delegates at this year's Global DIY Summit will be able to hear much more about this new phenomenon.

Tile Giant launches first standalone warehouse 1 March 2016
Tile Giant has selected Lichfield as the location for its first standalone warehouse.

Topps Tiles takes to the road 1 March 2016
February saw the launch of the Topps Tiles Trade Roadshow programme for 2016 with the first event being held at their Watford store on Imperial Park.


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