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"Quelle horreur. One of our last brilliant British retaliers [sic] Habitat has gone into administration. Part being bought by Homebase! OMG!" Thus tweets self-styled 'Queen of Shops' Mary Portas. Fact: Habitat UK Ltd last recorded an operating profit in 2004/05, when it made £1.9m on sales of £118m - a distinctly unimpressive operating margin of less than 2%. Since then it has lost money every year: £3.3m at operating level in 05/06, then £10.2m, then £11.7m, and nearly £20m in 2008/09, the latest year for which accounts have been filed. Accounts for the year to March 2010 should have been filed six months ago at the latest, but there's no sign of them yet.

Just remind us, your majesty: which part of this miserable record demonstrates Habitat's "brilliant" retail abilities?

Subsequent tweet from MP: "And the thought of Homebase bodging up and running Habitat makes me want to weep". This would be the same Homebase which until quite recently employed a PR agency named Yellow Door, which is owned by Mary Portas ...
View User Profile for Colin Petty Industry consultant Colin Petty considers developments in the DIY market.

Posted by Colin Petty | 27 June 2011 | 11:00 | More from: Talking Point


Published prior to March 2014
By Andrew Bluett-Duncan
I worked for Habitat many moons ago and loved it there and at an emotional level agree entirely with Mary Portas. The thought of Homebase putting their stamp of "okish mediocrity" on what was such an original concept is rather abhorrent. That Habitat could go on and on making losses year after year is to my "small retailer mind" is really rather surprising!
However I'm not sure if there is a conflict of interest in Portas saying what she said. I'm sure Homebase will have benefited from Yellow Door's advice as most of us retailers would if we're being really honest with ourselves.
Andrew Bluett-Duncan
Art of Living
Published prior to March 2014
By Ellie Hurst
Yes good point and well made. But hang on, isn't she going to save the high street single handedly?
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