In This Issue
Much loved industry figure passes away after cancer battle
OBE's for Colin Squire and John Athwal
Rachel Doyle of Arboretum scoops Retail Excellence Lifetime Achievement Award
Bunnings UK boss to take a three month break
New Year Greetings to all our readers
When will the For Sale sign go up at Wyevale GCs?
So what went on behind closed doors at the Wyevale suppliers meeting.?
Rising Stars 2017 - The final 12
Owners of garden centre face £21,000 bill after selling 'dangerous' items
Wyevale Garden Centres announces shift away from acquisitions
Wyevale Garden Centres named on 'worst to work for' list
Sad news - Alistair Lorimer dies
Durston Garden Products HOLD prices for 2018
New display ideas, new products, new suppliers at Bunnings first UK garden centre - GTN Xtra picture exclusive
Retail ops restructured as going gets tough for Wyevale GCs
All eyes will be on how Wyevale GCs plans to replace 'unsustainable' growth strategy with core business focus
Sir Terry and Mr M...unfinished business at Dobbies?
Mothers Day bonanza as garden centre records are broken across the country
We cleared out Homebase management too quickly, confesses parent company's new CEO
Carol Paris is leaving the HTA
Dobbies "gets together with Ocado to be the best on-line"
Nicholas Marshall is back in the gardening industry as CEO of Dobbies
Newshound finds Mr M has been busy recruiting 'experience'...
Terra Firma props up Wyevale Garden Centres
So this is what a Bunnings Warehouse looks like...
A bittersweet moment says Scott CEO as he announces UK, Europe and Aussie sell-off
Gardman reports £1.5m loss - but earnings soar by 50%
Blue Diamond buys Bridgford Garden Centre
Exponent Private Equity to buy Scotts business in UK, Europe and Australia
Brothers sell £15m Yarnton Nurseries business
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Get your own copy of GTN Xtra
Westland win Sword of Excellence with SafeLawn
Is this the smallest garden centre in the UK?
Glee to hold two shows per year from 2018 onwards
Garden retailers sign up to industry Xylella statement
Marshall's strategy for Dobbies to put focus back on plants
Woodlodge win GCA Associate of the year Award
"The Best Glee for Years" - Retailers verdict on this years show
"Xylella is the most serious situation I have come across in 32 years in the industry"
MEP's vote to ban glyphosate completely by 2022
Blisters, tomatoes, over 100 walkers and runners raise over £22k on Garden Re-Leaf Day
Coolings buys Potted Garden Nursery at Maidstone
Exclusive pictures from Bunnings' biggest store yet
New men at the top at Hillier
Xylella fastidiosa: how Italy has tackled the problem
Town & Country is sold to EP Barrus
Supplier rebates to exceed £1.5m for Choice members
"Garden Centre of the Future" planned for new outlet retail centre at Downtown Grantham
Bunnings UK No. 3 - Hemel Hempstead in pictures
Shoplifting costs retailers £800m a year says research
Scotts: We want out of Europe...but we won't give the business away
New trade show will demonstrate how to cater for vegans
Historic exhibition and new branding for Dobbies
Exciting new-build garden centre underway
Bunnings - Homebase - sales drop by £44m
Glyphosate licence approved for 5 years
2017: A year of transition for the garden centre trade
Top 50 most-read stories in GTN Xtra 2017
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We cleared out Homebase management too quickly, confesses parent company's new CEO
No 14 Most Read Story 2017. First published: Sunday 26 November, 2017

The new CEO of Bunnings and Homebase parent company Wesfarmers has confessed to shareholders that the company had made a mistake by changing the Homebase management team and product ranges too quickly when it took over the UK chain last year.


Bunnings' UK and Ireland (BUKI) has reported losses of Aus$89 million (£50 million) in 2017, compared to Homebase earnings of $52 (£29.7 million) in 2015, with sales falling 17.5% in the September quarter. Analysts estimate that sales have gone backwards by 20% since the Homebase acquisition.


Scott (pictured right) said he expected the losses to increase through 2018 as trading remained challenging for Homebase during the continuing conversion of stores to the Bunnings format.


However, sales in the most-recently converted stores were doing well and he was considering accelerating the conversion, although he wanted to see how the new-format stores traded during the “dark months” of the British winter before investing more capital.


 “Our focus is on strengthening the management team to support the transformation and instilling stronger execution across the business. The establishment of Bunnings in the UK will take time and we will be disciplined with how we invest further capital,” he said.


The the parent company has said it recognises the UK market will be a difficult nut to crack in the current financial climate.


Scott is resisting pressure from investors to spin off Bunnings, which generates 30% of group earnings but is estimated to be worth $23 billion (£13 billion), or almost half of Wesfarmers' $48 billion (£27.3 billion) market value


But he conceded that Bunnings' expansion into the UK and Ireland through the $700 million (£360 million) acquisition of Homebase in January 2016 had been disappointing, and a change in tack was needed to restore sales growth and profits.


"Clearly it's not performing as well as we would like," he said.


Scott warned that losses would increase this year as trading deteriorated at Homebase stores and costs were increasing.


While he believed the Bunnings format would eventually resonate with British customers, he confessed that Bunnings had erred by removing most of Homebase's existing management team and changing its offer, including the product range and prices, too quickly.


“We relied too heavily on the Bunnings team and we exited virtually all the local team," he said.


“In hindsight, the team probably moved too quickly to change Homebase and made a lot of changes to clean out a lot of the concessions and clean the stores up with a view towards converting to Bunnings,” Mr Scott said. “But unfortunately we didn't replace those concessions with product and offers that were compelling enough to get customers in the door."


Wesfarmers has strengthened the BUKI management team over the past few months, appointing former B&Q operations director Damian McGloughlin, as COO and former Officeworks chief operating officer David Haydon(left), who has also held senior roles at B&Q and Wickes,  as Homebase's managing director. There are also new merchants and regional managers.


 “It really resonates with customers, and community engagement is very strong, and that gives us confidence the Bunnings offer will resonate in the UK and will be profitable in the UK,” Scott said. “The challenge is that the faster we convert the stores, the more disruption we cause and the more challenging the short-term performance will be.”

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