UK and Ireland: B&Q Launches New ‘Build a Life’ Campaign.

B&Q has recently unveiled its new brand campaign, ‘Build a Life’, that celebrates the belief that anyone can change their home to make life better.

You can watch the new campaign here

B&Q believes that anyone can improve their home to make life better.  Our homes are where life happens – a place we grow-up, learn, and live our lives.  Home has never been so important and a recent survey by B&Q found that lockdown has changed British attitudes towards our homes for good, with 57 percent agreeing our homes are more significant in improving our lives than ever.

This new campaign highlights that there’s so much more to everyday DIY. The strategic thinking from Uncommon, appointed by the brand last year, celebrates life in the home and the power of home improvement to change lives. Originally inspired by the amazing things people do to improve their homes to make their life better – something made even more significant by lockdown – the campaign taps into the fundamental truths about our homes and reflects the role B&Q has played in transforming the UK’s homes for the past 50 years.

Chris Graham, Marketing Director, B&Q said: “At B&Q we’ve been making, growing and selling the tools, materials and know-how to improve homes for over 50 years. To us, these things are more than bricks and mortar.”

Japan: Japanese Home Improvement market-2019.

According to the Diamond Home Center magazine in Japan, the total sales of Japanese home improvement industry in FY2019 hit a record high for the second year in a row, reaching  JPY3.9 trillion, falling just short of the JPY 4 trillion wall.

However, the market as a whole is not on the same trend. Although some major companies, such as Cainz and Kohnan, have contributed to the increase in total sales, many companies have continued to remain flat.

In contrast, the total number of stores increased by 11 (excluding the Ken-Depot 66 stores consolidated by Kohnan) to 4,812, but the pace of growth has been declining over the past few years.

In the past, major companies were actively opening new stores, but more and more companies are now shifting their investment into the digital field and renovating existing stores. The trend of steering clear of new store openings is likely to continue in the future.

Trade Fairs: Horticultural Industry is Committed to IPM Essen.

“For the majority of the exhibitors, participation in IPM ESSEN as an indispensable communication and sales platform is a matter of course. We are currently experiencing not only in Essen that large fairs with international participation can once again be held successfully. The be-all and end-all is a functioning hygiene concept, and we have proven that”, says Oliver P. Kuhrt, Managing Director of Messe Essen.

“A fair is not a concert or a soccer match. The distances between the participants is greater, and they are also much more widely spread over time. That’s why we are expecting regional shifts due to travel restrictions, but assume that not much will change in the overall picture”, adds Sabina Großkreuz, Head of Marketing at Messe Essen.

Effective hygiene protection is not only lived practice in the event organization, but also one of the focal points of the IPM ESSEN 2021: “The IPM Discovery Center, in which we present innovative concepts for the point of sale every year, is dedicated to the topic of safe garden centers in 2021”, explains creative director Romeo Sommers. “From shop-fitting to visitor guidance and product presentation, we will be showing solutions for active infection protection, which today is a prerequisite for successfully addressing customers.”

IPM ESSEN is the world’s leading horticultural trade fair revolving around solutions and innovations in the green sector.

 

Australia and New Zealand: Bunnings demonstrate positive growth.

Australia’s DIY market leader, Bunnings, increased its revenue in financial year 2019/2020 (ending: 30 June 2020) by 13.9 per cent to AUD 14.999 bn (EUR 9.11 bn). Total store sales rose by 14.7 per cent, store-on-store sales growth, which excludes stores that were impacted by temporary closure in New Zealand, also amounted to 14.7 per cent.

Bunnings Managing Director, Michael Schneider, commented on the results today: “These strong results reflect the hard work of our team and continued support from our suppliers. There is no doubt that the second half of the year has been challenging, with many of our team and their local communities impacted by the bushfires in late 2019 and early 2020. COVID-19 has also presented our team with some significant challenges and I would like to thank all of them for their incredible hard work and their commitment to keeping themselves, each other and our customers safe,”

During fiscal 2019/2020, Bunnings opened nine new warehouses, two smaller format stores and acquired six stores as part of the Adelaide Tools acquisition. Bunnings closed 13 stores, including ten underperforming stores in New Zealand, and converted one New Zealand small format store into a trade centre. At the end of the period there were 274 warehouses, 68 smaller format stores and 30 trade centres in the Bunnings network and a further 16 stores under construction, as well as six Adelaide Tools stores.

UK: Screwfix to open 40 new stores this year, creating around 400 jobs

Screwfix, the multichannel retailer, is to open 40 stores this year, creating around 400 new jobs in local communities. The new openings demonstrate continued growth of the business and a growing demand for convenience, despite the challenges of Covid-19.

30 new stores in the UK will create up to 300 jobs in areas such as retail management, service assistants and supervisor roles, by the end of January 2021. More than 10 stores are planned in the Republic of Ireland (ROI), which will create up to 160 jobs over the same period.

As an essential retailer, Screwfix adapted its proposition in order to remain open during the lockdown to allow its customers to safely access the products they need.

The rapid growth of Screwfix has seen the trade retailer open at least 50 stores a year for the past decade, making it one of the fastest growing retailers in the UK. It now has more than 680 stores, with a long-term target of 800 in the UK. Screwfix currently has five stores in the ROI, which opened in early 2020. The business hopes to open up to 40 stores in the ROI over the coming years, creating around 400 jobs in total.

 

USA: Lowe’s sales grow by a third

In the second quarter (ending 31 July 2020) of financial year 2020/2021, Lowe’s – the number two in the USA and worldwide – increased its sales compared to the same period last year by 34.2 per cent and made sales of USD 27.302 bn (EUR 22.927 bn). Comparable sales for the US home improvement business increased 35.1 per cent. The company completed the first half of the year with sales to the amount of USD 46.977 bn (EUR 39.449 bn) and thus a plus of 21.3 per cent.

In its quarterly report, Lowe’s emphasised the financial cost involved in reacting to the pandemic. In the second quarter, the company invested USD 460 mio (EUR 386 mio) in the support of front-line hourly associates, communities and store safety. Through the first half of 2020, Lowe’s has invested USD 560 mio (EUR 470 mio) in Covid-related financial support for its associates and USD 100 mio (EUR 84 mio) in community pandemic relief, with a focus on minority and rural small businesses and health care workers. Additionally, the retailer’s second quarter performance resulted in a record quarterly “Winning Together” profit-sharing bonus for its hourly associates at 100 per cent of its stores, which totalled USD 107 mio (EUR 90 mio).

USA: Ace Hardware reports record growth in the second quarter

The U.S. cooperative Ace Hardware is the latest business to report record sales during the Covid-19 pandemic. Its affiliated independent hardware stores in the USA have reported a 35.3 per cent increase in like-for-like sales. This growth was the result of a 14.4 per cent increase in same-store transactions and an 18.2 per cent increase in average ticket.

According to the company, Ace stores in the U.S. benefited from increased do-it-yourself activities by consumers sheltering in place, a shift in discretionary spending from travel and entertainment to home improvement, and consumers moving their purchases online and consolidating their store visits in order to limit potential Covid-19 exposure.

Overall sales rose by 35.1 per cent to USD 2.2791 bn (EUR 1.9238 bn). USD 1.0299 bn (EUR 870 mio) of this was accounted for by central wholesale sales, which increased by 32.8 per cent. The stores operated by the central office achieved retail revenues of USD 249.2 bn (EUR 210.4 mio), equivalent to an increase of 57.0 per cent.

Ace’s e-commerce sales have increased almost six-fold (plus 493 per cent).

“There is certainly both a blessing and a burden in being essential,” said John Venhuizen, president and CEO. “My earnest thanks to our drivers, warehouse specialists, red-vested heroes and the entire Ace team. Our efforts to support our stores and serve our neighbours have been imperfect during this pandemic, but the sincerity, efficacy and compassion with which it was delivered was exceptional and appreciated.”

However, the International branch of Ace has not seen the same growth as the US. While hardware and home improvement stores were considered “essential” and were allowed to remain open throughout the U.S., that was not the case across much of the world. Up to fifty per cent of the stores operating outside the USA by Ace Hardware were closed at some point during the quarter. As a result, the wholesale sales of the central business with its foreign partners declined by 0.8 per cent.

 

UK: Homeowners to see savings available under new Green Homes Grant scheme

From late September, homeowners and landlords in England will be able to get up to £5,000 worth of vouchers (£10,000 for low-income households) to make energy-saving improvements so that their homes are more energy-efficient and cheaper to run.

The Green Home Grants scheme, due to open by the end of September, will allow consumers to obtain funding for up to two-thirds of the cost of the energy saving measures identified. The scheme will cover green home improvements including insulation of walls, floors and roofs, the installation of double or triple glazing when replacing single glazing, and low-carbon heating. These measures could help families save up to £600 a year on their energy bills.

Through the Green Home Grants scheme the UK Government plan to make over 600,000 homes across the country more energy efficient and support over 100,000 jobs in green construction.

 

USA: Amazing 2nd Quarter Results at The Home Depot.

“I’ve never seen a quarter like this” analysts have said about the results posted by The Home Depot. Like for like sales are up by 25% compared to last year. It is thought the one of the main reasons behind this incredible growth is that customers are stuck at home during the coronavirus pandemic and are enjoying a “summer at home” tackling home improvement projects they have previously put off.

Net Earnings at The Home Depot are $4.3 Billion compared to $3.5 Billion and earnings per share have increased by 26.8 per cent.

The Home Depot has also announced that it will open three new distribution centres in Georgia over the next 18 months to support the growing demand for flexible delivery and pick-up options for professional and DIY customers.

In 2017, the company announced a USD 1.2 bn (EUR 1.02 bn) investment to expand its distribution network with approximately 150 new supply chain facilities nationwide, with the goal of expanding the company’s existing same-day and next-day delivery options to 90 per cent of the US population.

The company is also working to make online shopping easier. How successful The Home Depot has been in this regard is shown by the increase of more than a billion dollars in revenue from online sales in the last six months.

In the first quarter of 2020, online sales increased by as much as 80 per cent, due in part to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. Interestingly, 60 per cent of customers collect their online purchases from the store.

 

World: International Tributes Pour in for Ernest Wertheim.

It is with much sadness that we must report the death of Ernest Wertheim, who passed away in California on August the 4th 2020. Ernest was 100 years old.

Ernest was probably the most well known global consultant in the garden centre sector, having planned leading and innovative garden centres in the USA and Europe since the 1960s.

As a landscape architect in the fifties Ernest designed his first retail plant nursery for Jack Schneider.  The term garden centre didn’t exist before Orchard Nursery was designed and developed. In 1958 Ernest influenced the whole industry by predicting that plants would sell better and last longer if they were sold in containers rather than bare root or rootballed.

John Herbert, EDRA/GHIN General Secretary said: “Ernest was a truly remarkable person and when you read his book “Chasing Spring” it is simply amazing to see how positive he was considering the destruction of his family by the Nazi’s.

I remember asking Ernest if he still felt he was German. He looked at me, paused and said… “but John, I am an American!”  Ernest was an inspiration to all whom he came in contact with. Even at 98 years of age Ernest talked about the what we do for the future!”