One in four stores to close
Parent company of Homebase, Home Retail Group is set to close one in four stores as part of a three-year turnaround plan.
The announcement was as part of the company’s half-year results, which saw a review of the Homebase business, upgrade of website and lift of multi-channel sales by 12%.
Although Homebase had 11 trial stores refitted, including Habitat concessions, it had also continued to exit underperforming stores. Homebase closed seven stores, reducing its store portfolio to 316 stores. Total sales for Homebase to August 30, increased by 1.5% to £835million.
The DIY chain will now target a greater number of store closures, expecting to exit around 30 stores in the current financial year, which will reduce the store portfolio to 295 stores by full year 2015.
Underperforming stores will be closed either when their scheduled lease expiries or sold to other retailers. Homebase claims where possible staff will be redeployed to other stores within the Group, or will encourage retailers buying its leases to offer roles within their businesses locally.
According to Home Retail Group, the review of the Homebase business showed a customer franchise around 60 million customer transactions during full year 2014.
Chief executive of Home Retail Group, John Walden commented: “Homebase is a good business with the basis for future growth. In this context, Homebase will pursue a three-year plan through to the end of full year 2018 to improve the productivity of its store estate, strengthen its propositions and accelerate its digital capabilities by leveraging Argos’ investments. This will position Homebase as a smaller but stronger business, ready for investment and growth.”
Following the completion of the Homebase business review, managing director Paul Loft has decided to step down and will be replaced when a successor has been found.