Wickes

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For other uses, see Wickes (disambiguation).
Wickes
Subsidiary
Industry Retail
Founded 1972
Headquarters Northampton, Northamptonshire, England, United Kingdom
Area served
United Kingdom
Products
Parent Travis Perkins
Slogan Let's do it right
Website www.wickes.co.uk

Wickes is a British home improvement retailer and garden centre, based in the United Kingdom and owned by Travis Perkins, with more than 200 stores[1] throughout the country.

It focuses on supplies and materials for homeowners, and the building trade. Also targeting the kitchen and bathroom market, in which it has extensive ranges from budget take away kitchens and bathrooms, to more bespoke professionally designed kitchens and bathrooms. This company should not be confused with Wickes Furniture, a former US-based furniture store chain; however, both companies used the same red and blue "W" logo.

History[edit]

Wickes store sign

Wickes was founded by Henry Dunn Wickes, in Michigan, United States in 1854, and in 1972, Wickes Corporation, along with British builders merchant, Sankeys, opened its first store in the United Kingdom. By 1987, Wickes was trading from 41 locations, and was floated on the London Stock Exchange.

In August 1996, serious accounting irregularities were uncovered. In November 1996, Bill Grimsey was appointed CEO, to oversee its recovery from the scandal, that saw its share price suspended and the banks foreclosing.[2] Grimsey launched a rights issue,[3] started an employee share scheme, and turned around the company to the point where it was bought by Focus-Do-It-All, backed by Duke Street Capital, in September 2000.[4][5]

Wickes grew from 131 stores in October 2000, to 172 in March 2004, including the re-branding of 36 Focus DIY stores. In December 2004, Focus Group sold Wickes to Travis Perkins.[6] The sale was completed in February 2005.

Wickes store in Hull

In October 2007, Wickes acquired seven stores from Focus DIY, after Cerberus Capital took it over, in June 2007 for £1,[7] these stores were in Glossop, Mansfield, Penrith, Bulwell, Plumstead, Dumfries & Hereford. In May 2011, it was announced that Wickes had purchased 13 stores from the appointed administrators of Focus DIY, Ernst & Young, saving 345 jobs.[8]

By 2015, the company now owns over 222 stores, all throughout the United Kingdom.[citation needed]

South Africa[edit]

In 1994, Wickes embarked on a joint venture in South Africa, with Federated Blaikie, which saw six Wickes branded stores open in Johannesburg and Pretoria. Following the financial troubles the parent company encountered, the venture ended in 1997. Shortly afterwards, the Wickes name was removed from all stores in South Africa.

Mainland Europe[edit]

The Wickes brand had ventured into some Northern European nations (Belgium, France and the Netherlands). However, in 1996, after the financial irregularities uncovered. Wickes management believed that the only way to survive the troubles, was to concentrate solely on their United Kingdom operations. In 1997, all mainland European operations were sold to the French DIY Chain Bricorama.

Ireland[edit]

In April 2009, Wickes started an expansion into Ireland, opening its first franchised Irish store in Limerick.[9] In February 2013, this franchise relationship ended, with the store closed down.

Wickes Showrooms[edit]

During the time when Wickes was part of the FocusWickes group, Wickes Showrooms were installed in several Focus DIY stores. Focus were historically weak in the sale of kitchens and conservatories. Wickes Showrooms allowed these Focus stores, normally in locations where there was not a Wickes store close-by, to offer the full Wickes showroom range. Following the demerger of Focus and Wickes, these showroom units were uninstalled from Focus stores.

In 2010, Wickes launched 5 Kitchen & Bathroom stores, which unlike the rest of the estate, stock no products in favour of large displays of both Kitchens & Bathrooms. However all Wickes products can be ordered through these stores for Home Delivery.

Focus Wickes Warehouse[edit]

In September 2000, following the merger of Focus/Wickes, in September 2001, the company launched a cross branded store, "Focus Wickes Warehouse".

Basically, the two stores melded into one, with a standard Wickes Store with the addition of the Focus "Softer end" range. One store was opened in Glasgow and at 100,000 sq ft (9,300 m2), was around four times the size of a standard Wickes Store. This format was to be rolled out nationwide, but never expanded beyond its first store.

From 2003, Wickes Extra Stores emerged, which range in size from 50,000 sq ft (4,600 m2) to 100,000 sq ft (9,300 m2), and whilst larger than a standard Wickes Store, sell only an expanded range of Wickes' core products with no soft furnishings, an evolution of the previous format. In 2005, the Focus Wickes Warehouse was converted to a Wickes Extra.

Rivals[edit]

In 1995, when B&Q launched their "The Depot" format (later relaunched as B&Q Depot and again as B&Q Warehouse) it was widely seen as an attack on Wickes foothold, in the crossover DIY / builders' merchant market.

The most direct attack on their market share came in the early 1990s, when the Great Mills launched Bay6 (Basics), with a small number of stores, mostly close to existing Wickes outlets. These stores were identical in size, look and layout to the Wickes stores. In 1995, Wickes bought the 6 Bay6 stores from Great Mills' parent company, RMC Group. (Four were already trading, two were under construction.) In return, Wickes sold 23 of their Builders Mate branded outlets to RMC.

Product range changes[edit]

In June 2009, Wickes completely pulled out of the fitted bedroom market, and dedicated extra store space to an expanded kitchen and bathroom range instead. In 2012, they started extending their range, offering beyond own brand products, by stocking a selection of trade brands including: Makita, Bosch, Rawl, Speedfit, Stanley and Velux.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Wickes stores". Wickes.co.uk. Retrieved 27 April 2009. 
  2. ^ Tooher, Patrick (29 November 1996). "Wickes names Grimsey as new chief executive". London: Independent.co.uk. Retrieved 16 April 2009. 
  3. ^ Cope, Nigel (7 January 1997). "Wickes to resume trading today". Independent. Retrieved 25 May 2011. 
  4. ^ "Do It All at Wickes". BBC. 1 September 2000. Retrieved 16 April 2009. 
  5. ^ Travis nails Wickes for £950m | Business | The Guardian
  6. ^ Wickes – Corporate
  7. ^ "guardian.co.uk – "Focus DIY sold for £1"". London: guardian.co.uk. 18 June 2007. Retrieved 12 March 2008. 
  8. ^ "Wickes buys 13 stores from Focus". BBC. 16 May 2011. Retrieved 16 May 2011. 
  9. ^ "Wickes Ireland". Wickes.ie. Retrieved 17 April 2009. Wickes in Ireland is operated as an independent franchised business owned and operated by Moritz Home Improvement Centre Limited under licence from Wickes Limited. Moritz Home Improvement Centre Limited, Ballymount Retail Park, Ballymount Cross, Walkinstown, Dublin 24, Ireland.