The first Bunnings Warehouse store in the UK and Ireland opened its doors to customers today (Thursday 2 February) in St Albans, Hertfordshire.
The pilot store, on the site of the former Homebase in Griffiths Way, is the first of at least four pilot stores to be opened by June, creating 120 jobs.
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The company, part of Australia’s Wesfarmers Group, plans to invest up to £500 million rolling out the Bunnings Warehouse format in the UK and Ireland over the next three to five years. Bunnings acquired Homebase for £340 million in February 2016.
Product inventory up 40%
The store stocks more than 30,000 different home and garden lines – a 40% increase compared with the average Homebase. It features timber cutting, a new inspiring tool shop offering big name brands including Ryobi and DeWalt, a ‘colour wall’ with over 3,000 colour tiles – as well as paint mixing from Johnstone’s Trade, Crown and Dulux. There’s also a 19,000 sq ft garden centre and dedicated DIY workshop area.
The St Albans store is 67,000 square feet and employs 68 people, almost double the workforce of the previous Homebase store. A third of team members are aged over 50, and include former plumbers, painters, electricians and landscape gardeners, as well as other trades people.
2nd Bunnings Warehouse planned for St Albans in April
To celebrate the opening, Bunnings introduced its famous fundraising ‘Sausage Sizzle’ to the UK with Peter ‘PJ’ Davis, MD of Bunnings UK and Ireland, cooking breakfast for team members.
He said: “It’s great to be able to give people a taste of what Bunnings is all about. Our policy is to offer customers the lowest prices, the widest range and best service, and hopefully our first pilot store demonstrates that. I want to say a huge ‘thank you’ to everybody who helped get us to this momentous day.
“A second Bunnings Warehouse store in Hatfield Road, St. Albans will open in April and we are on track to have at least four pilots up and running by the summer. We are laying strong foundations on which to build the Bunnings Warehouse business in the UK and Ireland for generations to come.”
Complex Manager Andy Kenwrick added: “The team has worked incredibly hard over the past three months to transform the store. They have had more than 3,000 hours training on everything from timber and key cutting to product knowledge and health and safety. We’ve even trained our own baristas for the café. Now we just can’t wait to get started.”