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B&Q to close Homefit Kitchen & Bathroom Installation Service

B&Q Kitchen Showroom Pic

B&Q has announced proposals to permanently close their Homefit service.

The decision is likely to impact on as many as 700 B&Q employees and a spokesperson told Insight DIY "At this stage it is too early to say how many people will be affected, as we are still in consultation. Overall, we anticipate a net increase in jobs. The at-risk roles are located nationwide, and are Design Consultants in our stores and all roles in our 14 Homefit locations".

"We currently employ around 400 Design Consultants and have 300 Homefit employees. We plan to continue to offer customers installation surveys up until 2 July and they will be able to book installation up until 9 July.  Our Homefit service will remain in place until December 2018. We subcontract all installation work to our register of high quality installers.  Being a B&Q registered installer does not mean they work exclusively for B&Q Homefit. They are free to undertake non-Homefit contracts too. We will be working with our installers closely and supporting them over the coming months".

A spokesperson went on to say "B&Q has announced proposals to simplify the way we sell kitchens and bathrooms. We will be making it simpler for customers so that they deal with just one person; making the experience faster with the whole process from booking a design appointment to home delivery being done in less time; and creating 400 net new roles in our stores to provide better customer service for customers buying a new kitchen or bathroom.

As part of the change, B&Q is proposing to move away from offering installation services to reflect their customer preference. Apparently some 90% of B&Q customers already choose to use their own kitchen fitter.

"To better serve customers, the proposed changes include re-organising our kitchen and bathroom team structure, resulting in the creation of nearly 400 net new roles in our stores, and changing the way we sell kitchens and bathrooms, so that it is more consistent with how we sell products in other areas of the store and is no longer based on commission".

Paul Crisp, Retail Director, B&Q, commented: “We want to be the leading home improvement company and make home improvement accessible for everyone. That means we need to operate differently. “We’re always looking to make things easier for our customers. The proposed changes will make it simpler for them to buy a kitchen or bathroom as they’ll only need to deal with one person in store; they’ll shorten the lead time between booking a design appointment and delivery of a new kitchen or bathroom; and they’ll create a better shopping experience with more colleagues available to serve our customers in our kitchen and bathroom areas.

“Our intention to move away from an installation offer reflects customer preferences, with some 90% of our customers already preferring to have their kitchen or bathroom fitted by their own fitter. The changes will require a new team structure in our kitchen and bathroom areas to reflect advances in home improvement design technology and changes resulting from the move away from an installation offer. They mean that we will focus on delivering great service and quality to our customers at prices that are truly affordable. "We recognise this is a difficult time for those employees who are affected and we are supporting them in a number of ways. “We are continuing to collectively consult with our employee’s representative body – the National People’s Forum about roles that are at risk, prior to consulting with impacted colleagues.

“Should the changes go ahead, we will start recruiting for the new roles immediately and our installation service will be in place until December 2018. We are committed to honouring and completing all bookings within this timescale and propose to continue to take installation bookings up until 9 July.”

The surprise move, which will effectively see them closing their own installation service, comes in the same week that John Lewis has moved further into 'Home Services' with the acquisition of Opun. On the Opun website they say "With our combination of state-of-the-art-technology, best-in-class customer service and by only working with our experienced Trade Partners, we offer an unrivalled kitchen service".

Read - John Lewis moves further into home services with acquisition of Opun.

Source: Insight DIY Team

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07 June 2018

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Thank you for the excellent presentation that you gave at Woodbury Park on Thursday morning. It was very interesting and thought-provoking for our Retail members. The feedback has been excellent.

Martin Elliott. Chief Executive - Home Hardware.

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