Wickes

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For other uses, see Wickes (disambiguation).
Wickes
Type Subsidiary
Industry Retail
Founded
Headquarters Northampton, Northamptonshire, England, UK
Area served United Kingdom
Products
Parent Travis Perkins plc
Website UK Homepage

Wickes is a do-it-yourself retailer 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.

History[edit]

Wickes store sign

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

In the summer of 1996 serious accounting irregularities were uncovered. Bill Grimsey was appointed CEO in November 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 stores. Focus Group sold Wickes to Travis Perkins in 2005.[6]

Wickes store in Hull

In late 2007 Wickes acquired seven stores from Focus DIY after Focus was taken over in June 2007 by Cerberus Capital for £1,[7] these stores were in Glossop, Mansfield, Penrith, Bulwell, Plumstead, Dumfries and Hereford.

In May 2011 it was announced that Wickes had purchased 13 stores from the appointed administrators of the Focus DIY chain Ernst & Young saving 345 jobs.[8]

As of May 2013, the company now owns over 222 stores throughout the UK.[citation needed]

South Africa[edit]

Wickes embarked on a joint venture in South Africa in 1994 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. The Wickes name was shortly after 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) but after the financial irregularities uncovered in 1996, Wickes management believed that the only way to survive the troubles was to concentrate solely on their UK operations. In 1997 all mainland European operations were sold to the French DIY Chain Bricorama.

Ireland[edit]

Wickes started an expansion into the Irish market, opening its first Irish store as a franchise in Limerick city.[9]

This franchise relationship came to an end in early 2013, and the Limerick store was closed.

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]

Following the merger of Focus and Wickes, the company launched a cross branded store, "Focus Wickes Warehouse" in September 2001. 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. Starting in 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. The Focus Wickes Warehouse was converted to a Wickes Extra store in 2005.

Rivals[edit]

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 DIY Chain 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. (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 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.