Home improvement and garden retailer Bunnings announced today (Thursday June 29) that it plans to have 20 stores in the UK by the end of 2017 – twice as many as previously expected.
The announcement coincides with the opening of the fourth Bunnings Warehouse at Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire (see separate story).
This branch is the largest in the UK to date, measuring over 90,000sq ft. It joins two stores which opened in St. Albans in February and April, and a third which opened in Hemel Hempstead earlier this month.
Bunnings is a leading retailer of home improvement and outdoor living products in Australia and New Zealand, operating more than 350 sites and employing over 40,000 staff.
The company, part of Australia’s Wesfarmers Group, plans to invest up to £500 million rolling out the Bunnings Warehouse format in the UK and Ireland over the next three to five years.
In February 2016 it acquired the home improvement and garden retailer Homebase. As of this month, Bunnings also operates as Homebase, trading from 251 stores and employing over 12,000 staff in the UK and Ireland.
The next Bunnings Warehouse store to open will be in the Kent town of Folkestone in July. Following that, the Homebase stores in the Kent towns of Thanet (Broadstairs) and Sittingbourne, and the Essex town of Basildon (Vange) will be redeveloped.
Managing director PJ Davis said: “Our decision to extend the pilot programme reflects the positive reaction we’ve seen from customers to the stores we’ve opened so far.
“Increasing the number of pilot stores to 20 will give us the opportunity to test the concept in new geographies, with different demographics, across a range of store sizes. We are determined to combine the best of Bunnings Warehouse with what UK consumers want.”
He added: “The success of the pilots still remains a precursor to additional investment.”
Bunnings also announced two additions to the UK senior leadership team: chief operating officer Damian McGloughlin and general manager David Haydon, who bring over 55 years’ industry experience.