Essential reading for retailers and suppliers in the home improvement market

Busy month for Homebase

Published: 22 April 2008
Retailer moves to strengthen home enhancement credentials.
April has been a busy month for Homebase with three significant announcements.

The home enhancement retailer has reached a deal that sees Morphy Richards as its sole supplier of irons; Homebase has launched its own-brand range of small electricals; and it has also struck a deal with award-winning online plant delivery company Crocus.

The Morphy Richards range – from compact lightweight steam spray shot irons to steam generators – will be displayed in a dedicated ironing centre within Homebase stores while each iron will carry information labels explaining characteristics and benefits.

Chris Lever, category consumer manager for garment care at Morphy Richards said: "This is a unique partnership that enables us to guide the consumer through the iron purchasing process.

"Within many of the high street retailers, the consumer shopping experience can be very confusing. Choice is often led by 'shopping by numbers' (wattage, steam output and tank capacity).

"Homebase will use Morphy Richards' wealth of knowledge to ensure consumers are led by characteristics of the iron and benefits that will help with their own ironing task."

The own-brand range of small electricals will encompass modestly priced kettles, toasters, and blenders although they will be complemented by premium lines from well-known brands including Dualit, Gaggia, and Kenwood.

Online

On the plant side, the upgraded website allows offers customers to browse 'the biggest transactional range of plants on the web available in the UK, including Crocus' full back catalogue, its current plant collections and six new exclusive plant collections for Homebase', according to the retailer.

In addition, the new site provides a wide range of articles and advice on all aspects of gardening, plant care and garden design, making it attractive to both novice and experienced gardeners.

Amy Whidburn, trading director of gardening and seasonal at Homebase, said the partnership provides choice, advice and inspiration.

For Homebase, and Crocus, the benefits are two-fold: first, they can both tap into a home-shopping experience which is seeing customers buying greater quantities of plants online; second, they can fulfil a need that otherwise they might not always be able to satisfy.

Ms Whidburn said: "Consumer interest in gardening remains high, and we are well positioned to take advantage of this through our network of stores and skilled employee base – more than 1,000 members of store staff have already been through our own horticultural training scheme, the Horti-licence, enabling them to better answer customers' questions and support their needs."

Peter Clay, co-founder of Crocus, said: "In the last three years we have enjoyed a compound growth of 30% per year. Over the next three years our ambition is to double our volume. We believe that this new partnership, giving us access to an enlarged active customer base, should make this a realistic target."

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