Friday, August 24, 2018

News: Retailer returns to Homebase in Rotherham

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The DIY retailer merry-go-round in Rotherham has come full circle with Homebase returning to Parkgate.

Rothbiz reported in May that, just five months after opening a Bunnings Warehouse in Rotherham, Australian retail giant, Wesfarmers announced that it is selling up and pulling out of the UK market.

Following a comprehensive review of the business, Wesfarmers announced that it had agreed to divest the Homebase business in the United Kingdom and Ireland to a company associated with Hilco Capital.

The store at the Northfields Retail Park at Parkgate was formerly occupied by B&Q but was vacant since June 2016. Opening in December 2017, the first Bunnings opening in the North of England, created 80 new full and part-time jobs.

The 70,000 sq ft has now been rebranded as Homebase.

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Hilco acquired all Homebase assets, including the Homebase brand, its store network, freehold property, property leases and inventory for "a nominal amount."

Wesfarmers said that it expects to record a loss on disposal of £200m to £230m in the group's 2018 full-year financial results.

In one of its first acts, the new owners of Homebase launched a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) this month to close 42 underperforming stores and reduce rents across the remaining portfolio. Creditors will vote on the CVA next and if not approved it is likely that the company will go into administration or liquidation.

Damian McGloughlin, chief executive of Homebase, said: "Launching a CVA has been a difficult decision and one that we have not taken lightly.

"Homebase has been one of the most recognisable retail brands for almost 40 years, but the reality is we need to continue to take decisive action to address the underperformance of the business and deal with the burden of our cost base, as well as to protect thousands of jobs.

"The CVA is therefore an essential measure for the business to take and will enable us to refocus our operations and rebuild our offer for the years ahead."

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Homebase previously operated at nearby Parkgate Shopping before closing the store in 2011. It has since been home to Best Buy and Kiddicare and is now home to a Millets outlet.

Having only opened in 2009 after relocating from nearby Thornhill, the B&Q at Northfields closed in 2016 under plans by the owner, Kingfisher plc to "transform its offer" to customers.

Adjacent to the retail units at Northfields, local speculative developer, EV Waddington is bringing forward a £3.6m scheme that involves creating 57,000 sq ft of industrial space on a remaining 1.15 hectare parcel of land.

Homebase website

Images: Tom Austen

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