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Consumers judge Habitat second best retail brand

Argos owner Home Retail Group has bought a brand with one of the best reputations in the retail sector, according to YouGov data.
The retail group acquired the exclusive rights to Habitat's master and sub design brands, three London stores and its website from restructuring company Hilco for pound 24.5m.

The Habitat brand continues to be valued by consumers despite the sell-off of most of its real estate, according to YouGov's BrandIndex, which shows Habitat has the second best reputation in the general retail category, behind Ikea. Its reputation score was +18.6 on 27 June.

Argos, by comparison, has a negative reputation score of -3.1, while Homebase scores +10.5. Habitat has a consistently high quality rating, registering a score of +21.1.

Home Retail Group chief executive Terry Duddy says the company wants to protect the Habitat brand. "Habitat is an iconic brand with a reputation for stylish, well-designed products, and a strong resonance with an attractive customer base. Our aim is to support and reinforce the integrity of the brand."

He adds: "We believe there's a lot we can do with its online proposition. The Habitat website is only 12 months old and there is much we can do to build on this with our award-winning multi- channel offering."

The 30 Habitat stores not bought have been put into administration. It is thought that about 700 jobs will be lost with only 150 of its 900 staff being retained. It is not known how many marketers face the axe.

Habitat was set up in the Sixties by designer Terrence Conran. It appointed former Best Buy marketing director Kevin Styles as chief executive only last month. It is not yet known what will happen to his position.

Despite the early success of its design-led approach, the retail chain has struggled financially for many years as it was surpassed by cheaper rivals such as Ikea.

Prior to the Hilco acquisition, Habitat posted losses of E100m (pound 89m) over three years. Hilco has since installed a new management team and reduced losses.

Source : Marketing Week
Copyright: Centaur Communications Ltd. and licensors.

30 June 2011
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