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Homebase's Australian owner was hammered by its worst profits in ten years after its botched takeover of the UK DIY chain failed to bear fruit.Wesfarmers said group profits plummeted by 87 per cent to £212million, while its UK business was hit by £97million losses in the six months to December 31, compared to losses of £28million a year earlier.Sales fell 15.5 per cent across Wesfarmers’ UK business to £517million in the six months. The Australian firm bought Homebase for £340million in 2016 with plans to rename hundreds of stores after its Australian chain Bunnings.So far it has opened 15 Bunnings stores in the UK and plans nine more.But it has struggled to entice British customers, and many have complained overstocked shops resemble a ‘jumble sale’.It has now converted six Homebase stores into clearance shops to get rid of unwanted stock.Wesfarmers this month said it would close up to 40 stores putting 2,000 jobs at risk.Thomas Brereton, retail analyst at GlobalData, said it had made ‘severe misjudgements’.
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