In pictures: Belrose Bunnings in Sydney, Australia

As the UK awaits the launch of the first Bunnings pilot store, HW took the opportunity over Christmas to review the features of Belrose Bunnings in Sydney.

The store offers the Bunnings 'sausage sizzle' - an institution in Australia, a cafe, play area, price guarantee boards, lots of staff, no frills, clear signage, floor to ceiling racking, crowded aisles plus many more features that Homebase's new owner could apply to its first rebranded UK Bunnings, due to open in February.

Bunnings parent company Wesfarmers bought Homebase for £340m in January 2016.

The pilot UK Bunnings opens in St Albans in February.

The Bunnings 'sausage sizzle' - an institution in Australia

Low price slogans

Exotics in the garden centre

Playground sign

Playground

Products piled high

Neat plant displays

Racking

UK and Ireland manging director PJ Davis said at a BHETA meeting in November 2016: "In five years Homebase will disappear off the face of the world," adding that the 265 store Homebase estate "is a good base for building the Bunnings warehouse network".

Davis said the Australia average Bunnings warehouse was too big for Britain because it is "hard to drive around here".

He said Australian stores have a 15.5 minutes drive time ideally and up to $90m turnover "but in the UK 15 minutes doesn't get you far".

Davis added: "We probably need a few more stores. I just don't think they will be as big.

"We'll convert a few pilots to find out what customers really want, then convert a lot more. We also expect to build new stores and take over other properties, which is cheaper than converting our own stores."

He said the pilot would have a "wider assortment than anything you have seen in this country before".


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