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All change as Bunnings Brand Starts to Disappear from the UK

Homebase St.Albans - July 2018

Following the sale of Homebase to Hilco Capital in June 2018 as expected, work has now commenced on the rebranding of the 24 Bunnings stores back to Homebase.

The first locations to have the Bunnings branding removed were St. Albans (Griffiths Way) and St.Albans (Hatfield Road), to be followed shortly by Hemel Hempstead. A spokesperson from Homebase told Insight DIY that all stores would be completely rebranded by the end of August 2018.

Read - Wesfarmers completes sale of Homebase three weeks early.

At this stage, the rebranding of the stores is purely a cosmetic exercise to remove all evidence of the Bunnings name, as part of the sale contract with Wesfarmers. We visited the first Homebase to be converted to a Bunnings Warehouse, back in February 2017 and the transformation to a Homebase consists of nothing more than new signage on the outside and the replacement of all the Bunnings logo's on the in-store signage. Everything else at this stage remains unchanged, with no evidence of steps being taken to alter any of the ranging or displays.

Whether this is a temporary measure, whilst the senior team decides on the future strategy for the Homebse business is unclear, but nevertheless, it's good to see the Homebase brand appearing again.

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We believe that a similar clause in the sale contract relates to the requirement for 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 as yet, this remains unconfirmed.

A visit last Friday to the Milton Keynes store, showed the preparations for their conversion were well underway, with the removal of all the price entry products that had previously cluttered the aisles.

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The company is doing everything possible to remove all evidence of the Bunnings brand, with even the Bunnings branded umbrella's, beanies and other assorted merchandise being sold off from prices as low as 75p.

The only mention of Bunnings we could find anywhere in the St.Albans store was this poignant opening plaque, situated in the entrance, dated 2nd February 2017. The store on Grifftiths Way, which has stood the longest under the Bunnings Warehouse banner, lasted in total less than 18 months - what a shameful reminder of what has been described by The Guardian as 'The most disastrous retail acquisition in the UK ever'.

Read - The most disastrous retail acquisition in the UK ever.

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In other news, the Homebase Team has this week made us aware that the Homebase stores in Bradford, London Acton, Exeter and Croydon Purley Way will close on 21 September.  

Source: Insight DIY Team

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26 July 2018

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