Battle lines drawn as big four garden centres prepare for changes

Bunnings/Homebase, B&Q, Wyevale and Dobbies are transforming their offers after takeovers and management changes, with the big four all under pressure to compete against each other and justify their price tags.

Bunnings will roll out its new name for Homebase this October; B&Q has a new concept store; Wyevale has a new chairman, Justin King, and chief executive, Roger Mclaughlan, who say they want to be more consumer-focused; and Dobbies has new private equity owners and a new chief executive, John Cleland.

Homebase buyers are visiting all competitors weekly to check prices. If they advertise a product, it must be the cheapest. Bunnings has added "spot buys" of products from its Australian stores.

In June, B&Q launched its first concept store at Cribbs Causeway, with a new logo reflecting its pan-European focus. The retailer will launch only three other new-look stores across Europe. B&Q said the concept will shape its stores for the future. The store offers 40,000 products, including 2,500 new and exclusive items, and "every department has been redeveloped to make DIY easier".

Wyevale is making up to 30 senior staff redundant. It wants to increase availability and make its range easier to shop.


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