Bunnings UK and Ireland today announced it is to expand its pilot programme, and will have 20 stores by the end of 2017 – twice as many as previously expected.
The announcement coincided with the opening of the fourth Bunnings Warehouse in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire; the largest in the UK and Ireland to date.
The store, on the site of the former Homebase in Snowdon Drive, occupies over 90,000 square feet, and employs 140 team members – including 88 in newly-created full and part- time roles. Bunnings continues to invest in the team and has provided more than 1,500 hours of training.
The increase in the number of Bunnings Warehouse pilot stores is a major step in developing the format in the UK’s £38 billion-a-year home improvement and garden market.
It follows a positive response from customers to the first pilot stores in St Albans and Hemel Hempstead. To date, the new stores have created more than 220 new jobs, with more than 1,000 new roles anticipated by the end of the year.
Bunnings also recently announced two new additions to the UK and Ireland senior leadership team. Damian McGloughlin, Chief Operating Officer, and David Haydon, General Manager, who bring with them over 55 years’ industry experience. These new hires reflect Bunnings commitment to strong, sustainable leadership and long-term growth within the UK home improvement market.
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. The success of the pilots still remains a precursor to additional investment.”
Michael Ward, Director General UK Trade & Investment Australia and New Zealand said: “This is a significant investment by Bunnings which will create hundreds of jobs, providing security to families across the UK. “The Department for International Trade works with companies around the world to promote the strengths of the UK and this investment from Bunnings is yet another endorsement of the UK’s attractiveness to overseas investors.”
The next store to open after Milton Keynes will be in Folkestone, Kent in July. Following that, the Homebase stores in Thanet (Broadstairs), Sittingbourne, Kent and Basildon Vange, Essex will be the next to be redeveloped.
Bunnings, one of the world’s leading retailer of home improvement and outdoor living products based in Australia and New Zealand, acquired Homebase in February 2016.
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.
The first four pilot stores opened earlier this year in St Albans, Hemel Hempstead and Milton Keynes. Bunnings Warehouse gives customers the lowest prices across the widest range of products, supported by the best service.