Bunnings, the leading home improvement and outdoor living retailer in Australia and New Zealand, has welcomed customers after opening its first warehouse store in the UK.
The store in St Albans – on the site of a former Homebase – is the first step towards establishing Bunnings in the UK home improvement and garden market, which is worth £38bn a year.
Bunnings, which is part of Australia’s Wesfarmers Group, acquired Homebase for £340m in February 2016 and now plans to invest up to £500m by rolling out Bunnings Warehouses across the UK and Ireland over the next three to five years.
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.
The store stocks more than 30,000 different home and garden lines, which the company says represents a 40 per cent increase compared with the average Homebase. It features timber cutting, a new inspiring tool shop offering world leading brands including Ryobi and DeWalt, a ‘colour wall’ with more than 3,000 colour tiles – as well as paint mixing from Johnstone’s Trade, Crown and Dulux offering an unlimited paint colour choice to customers.
There is also a 19,000 square feet garden centre and a dedicated DIY workshop area, a café and indoor children’s playground.
A second Bunnings Warehouse will also open in St Albans in April, with at least four centres up and running by the summer.