Following a review of Homebase’s 323 stores, the chain’s parent, Home Retail Group, plans to cut the number of Homebase stores by 25% before 2019 because they’re unprofitable or in decline.
Seven stores have already been closed this year and the chain plans to close a further 23 of its stores before the end of March 2015. In total Homebase will close 80 stores Nationwide. Back in 2012, Home Retail Group warned that Homebase stores would be closing, however, they did not specify how many.
Home Retail Group are yet to comment on the number of jobs that will be affected by the closures as they plan to be able to redeploy some of their staff to other parts of the chain. It has also been said that the group are will work with the new owners of the store sites to re-employ former Homebase workers to ensure minimal job losses.
The plan for the remaining Homebase stores will involve installing Argos and Habitat concessions within the stores, making improvements to the website, retraining staff and slashing the prices in certain product areas. Whether this will boost Homebase’s profits is yet to be seen.
Homebase and other rival DIY retailers took a big hit during the financial crisis as property sales ground to halt due to falling house prices. Although the housing market came back to life last year, it would appear that Homebase had failed to feel the full benefit of this.
As online shopping continues to grow and consumers have less enthusiasm and time for DIY it’s important that Homebase and other stores in the same position offer a positive in-store shopping experience that ensures footfall to the store. If the in-store experience cannot be improved, its store closure rate is only set to continue.
What do you think about the Homebase store closures? Will a smaller but stronger brand be more successful? We would be interested to hear your thoughts.