Bunnings chose the latest networking forum run by BHETA (British Home Enhancement Trade Association) to outline plans for the roll-out of the Bunnings brand in the UK and Ireland.
In a presentation held on November 3 at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry, Bunnings UK and Ireland managing director PJ Davis revealed that the first Bunnings Warehouse pilot store will open in mid-February at St Albans in Hertfordshire.
This will be followed by at least three more pilot stores by the end of June as the company phases out the Homebase brand, and a further four to six by the end of next year.
Bunnings plans to spend £500m transforming the Homebase business and adding to the estate with new stores. PJ Davis also confirmed that its core proposition would be refocused on DIY, tools and consumables and an enhanced garden offer.
Wesfarmers announced in January that it had entered into an agreement to acquire Homebase from Home Retail Group for £340 million (A$658 million). The transaction received approval from Home Retail Group’s banking syndicate in early February and from a general meeting of its shareholders on February 25. From its origins in 1914 as a Western Australian farmers’ cooperative, Wesfarmers has grown into one of Australia’s largest listed companies.
The BHETA event attracted 350 DIY, garden and housewares BHETA members, who attended a total of four sessions during the day.
CBI (Confederation of British Industry) deputy director general Josh Hardie provided an insight into the evolving relationship between business and government in the weeks and months following the Brexit vote.
Victoria Neuhofer from FN Neuhofer HOLZ of Austria reprised her closing speech from this year’s Global DIY Summit in Stockholm, which covered how to target Generation Y in ways to engage them in DIY, home and garden.
The fourth speaker was Insight Retail Group managing director Steve Collinge who talked about ‘The Fourth Industrial Revolution’. He illustrated how breakthroughs in artificial intelligence, driverless vehicles, 3D printing and big data will transform the future.
The forum closed with a Q&A panel session moderated by BHETA chairman Andrew Weiss.
Commenting on the day, BHETA DIY executive director Paul Grinsell said: “This was a really compelling event. It’s great that BHETA can attract such excellent speakers, who are so keen to share their plans and insights with the BHETA membership.”
Bunnings UK and Ireland managing director PJ Davis