Homebase gardening buyers face redundancy this month when new owners Hilco Capital close the horticulture office at Swindon, according to reports from some of the chain’s suppliers who contacted GTN Xtra last week.
More than 300 head office staff have already been made redundant by Hilco, who plan to close 40 stores.
Hilco paid former owners Wesfarmers £1 in May for the business the Australians paid £340m for just two years ago.
Work has begun on the expected rebranding of the 24 Bunnings stores back to Homebase following the sale of the chain.
First to revert were both outlets at St. Albans (pictured), to be followed shortly by Hemel Hempstead. A spokesperson told Insight DIY that all stores would be completely rebranded by the end of August.
At this stage, the rebranding is purely a cosmetic exercise to remove all evidence of the Bunnings name, as part of the sale contract with former owners Wesfarmers. Ranging and displays have not changed as yet. A similar clause in the sale contract is believed to require Homebase to sell off and remove all Wesfarmers exclusive brands (including Ozito, Kit & Kaboodle etc.) within six months of the date of the sale, but this remains unconfirmed.
A visit last Friday to the Milton Keynes store showed the preparations for their conversion were well under way, with the removal of all the price entry products that had previously cluttered the aisles.
Bunnings branded umbrellas, beanies and other assorted merchandise is being sold off at prices as low as 75p.
The only mention of Bunnings to be found at the St.Albans Grifftiths Way store was the plaque in the entrance commemorating the opening on 2 February 2017, barely 18 months ago.
The Homebase team has told Insight DIY that the stores in Bradford, London Acton, Exeter and Croydon Purley Way would close on 21 September.
Source: Insight DIY Team