Bunnings opens first DIY store in the UK

bunnings-uki-st-albansAussie DIY chain, Bunnings, has opened its first store in the UK and Ireland yesterday at St. Albans, Hertfordshire.

The pilot store is located on the site of the former Homebase, the hardware chain acquired for £340 million in February last year and the first step in Bunnings’ charge at the £38billion-a-year home improvement and garden market in the UK.

The home improvement and outdoor living products retailer, part of Wesfarmers Group, has earlier announced it plans to invest up to £500 million to roll out the Bunnings Warehouse format in the UK and Ireland over the next three to five years.

The St. Albans store, which is 67000 sq ft in size, stocks over 30,000 different home and garden lines, 40 per cent more than the average Homebase offered.

It features timber cutting, a new tool shop offering brands that includes Ryobi and DeWalt, a ‘colour wall’ with over 3000 colour tiles – as well as paint mixing from Johnstone’s Trade, Crown and Dulux offering an unlimited paint colour choice to customers.

There is also a 19000sqft garden centre and a dedicated DIY workshop area, a cafe and indoor children’s playground.

The store employs 68 people, almost double the workforce of the previous Homebase store.

bunnings-uki-st-albans-01To celebrate the opening Bunnings introduced its famous fundraising ‘Sausage Sizzle’ to the UK with Peter ‘PJ’ Davis, managing director of Bunnings UK and Ireland, cooking breakfast for team members.

“It’s great to be able to give people a taste of what Bunnings is all about,” said Peter Davis, MD of Bunnings UK and Ireland, while cooking breakfast for staff with an opening day sausage sizzle.

“Our policy is to offer customers the lowest prices, the widest range and best service, and hopefully our first pilot store demonstrates that.”

Davis said they will open their second Bunnings store in April in Hatfield Road, St. Albans and added they are on track to have at least four pilots up and running by the summer.

“We are laying strong foundations on which to build the Bunnings Warehouse business in the UK and Ireland for generations to come,” he said.

Former England Rugby Union scrum-half Kyran Bracken MBE, a member of the England squad that won the World Cup in 2003 and now 1st Team coach at St. Albans School, joined the celebrations.

“It’s great that Bunnings, which is such an iconic business in Australia, has chosen St. Albans as the location for its first two stores in the UK and Ireland. I’m sure they will be a huge success,” Bracken said.

Last year at the announcement of Wesfarmers’ venture into the British hardware market, the move attracted warnings of impairments on its accounts by analysts unconvinced of the wisdom of the move.

The leading critic of Wesfarmers $704 million acquisition of the Homebase chain has been David Errington, an analyst with Merrill Lynch Bank of America.


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