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Homebase announced as Décor Retailer of the Year

Leading home enhancement retailer, Homebase is celebrating being named 'Décor Retailer of the Year' in the recent DIY Week awards.

The award was given in recognition of the work that Homebase has undertaken in its store in Aylesford, Kent, which was gutted by fire in May 2010 and is now the jewel in Homebase's crown as a Decorating Centre to provide a wide offering and expertise to customers.

The Decorating Centre was part of the refit and is the centrepiece of the store. While there is a wide range of paint, wallpaper, flooring and tiling to provide customers with huge home enhancement tools, the main focus is the revolutionary new touch screen technology – allowing people to test their ideas before even having to purchase a brush!

Talking about the win, Colin Petty, Editor of DIY Week commented: "Homebase's new Decorating Centre concept rewrites the rule book. It's the definitive destination store for décor shoppers, helping them to find the look they want, and the product that delivers that look. The increase in sales is testament to how well the concept has worked."

The 'Create Your Own Look' touchscreens allow customers to upload an image of a room in their home and try various new looks, changing paint, wallpaper, flooring and tiling to best effect. Being able to see the design, and talk to dedicated experts in store, has not only increased consumer confidence in decorating within difficult trading circumstances, it’s helped increased sales in this area by 35%.

These, in conjunction with online guides, have helped see an increase of sales in DIY tools of 14% and 26% in accessories. These 'How To' guides are available online through both the Homebase website and the dedicated Homebase YouTube channel to help raise confidence in home enhancement across the country.

Education is also a key part of helping customer confidence in decorating. Across the business we have been engaging colleagues through our interactive computer based knowledge training programmes and House2home project based DVD`s on areas such as Painting & Decorating and Colour Scheming. Such a programme has so far been completed by almost 4,800 colleagues.

To go one step further colleagues within the Aylesford store have had City & Guilds training in conjunction with Mid Kent College in decorating leading to a professional qualification. The scheme has been so successful that it is currently being rolled out in other stores with a planned national programme to follow.

"The value of Aylesford goes beyond the performance of the store itself and the service it brings to the community," said Ian Jones, Retail and Distribution Director for Homebase.

"We are closely monitoring the pilot schemes at Aylesford to see how these can be best rolled out across our 342 stores and taking the shopping experience to new levels. Better design, more ideas, great value and service will all help our customers transform their home and garden".

Source : Home Retail Group press release

07 December 2011
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Max Crosby Browne - CEO, Home Decor

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