Wickes

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Wickes
TypeSubsidiary
IndustryRetail
Founded1854
Headquarters,
England, United Kingdom
Number of locations
230+
Area served
United Kingdom
Key people
David Wood (CEO)
Products
£70m (approx)
ParentTravis Perkins Group
Websitewww.wickes.co.uk

Wickes is a home improvement retailer and garden centre, based in the United Kingdom and owned by the Travis Perkins Group, with more than 230 stores throughout the country. Its main business is the sale of supplies and materials, for homeowners and the building trade.[1]

The company also trades in the kitchen and bathroom market, in which it has extensive ranges from budget take away offerings to bespoke professional designs.

History[edit]

Wickes Store Sign (2011)

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 forty one locations, and was floated on the London Stock Exchange. Serious accounting irregularities were uncovered in June 1996.[2]

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.[3] In January 1997, Grimsey launched a rights issue, 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][6]

Wickes grew from 131 stores in October 2000 to 172 in March 2004, including the rebranding of 36 stores of Focus DIY. Focus Group sold Wickes to Travis Perkins in December 2004.[7] The sale was completed in February 2005. Wickes acquired seven stores from Focus DIY in October 2007, after Cerberus Capital took it over in June 2007 for £1, these stores were in Glossop, Mansfield, Penrith, Bulwell, Plumstead, Dumfries, and Hereford.[8]

New Style Wickes Store. Crawley, West Sussex (2019)

In May 2011, it was announced that Wickes had purchased thirteen stores from the appointed administrators of Focus DIY, Ernst & Young, saving 345 jobs.[9] By 2017, the company had over two hundred stores in the United Kingdom.[10] In October 2016, The Independent reported that Wickes announced plans to shut stores amid ‘uncertain trading’.[11]

In May 2018, the BBC reported that Wickes is to cut a third of its head office workforce in a bid to reduce costs. Parent company Travis Perkins said the cull would affect workers in Watford, Hertfordshire, where it employs three hundred people.[12]

In July 2019, along with reports of sales being up 9.7%, the parent company of Wickes, Travis Perkins, announced plans to action a demerger and spin off Wickes in the middle of 2020, quoting Wickes “is well positioned to thrive as a stand alone business” and “will have the autonomy to execute on its strategy and allocate capital to its customer proposition and growth opportunities with a clearer focus.”[13]

Regional operations[edit]

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.[citation needed] Following the financial troubles the parent company encountered, the venture ended in February 1997.[14] Shortly afterwards, the name Wickes was removed from all stores in South Africa.[citation needed]

Mainland Europe[edit]

The Wickes brand ventured into some nations in Northern Europe, such as Belgium, France and the Netherlands.[citation needed] However, in December 1996, after financial irregularities were uncovered, management of Wickes believed that the only way to survive the troubles was to concentrate solely on its operations in the United Kingdom.[15] All mainland operations in Europe were sold to the French do it yourself chain, Bricorama, in June 1997.[16]

Ireland[edit]

There was a franchise agreement for the Wickes brand in Ireland, in October 2007, with a Moritz subsidiary.[17][18] The first store opened in Limerick. Moritz planned to open fifteen stores within five years, but initial plans for a €30m expansion were later put on hold, pending an assessment of market conditions, in April 2009.[19][20]

This franchise relationship ended in February 2013, with the store closed down, and the liquidator was “denied access” to the store.[21]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Wickes stores". Wickes.co.uk. Retrieved 27 April 2009.
  2. ^ "INTERNATIONAL BRIEFS;Wickes Says It Found Accounting Irregularities". nytimes.com. 26 June 1996. Retrieved 23 December 2020.
  3. ^ Tooher, Patrick (29 November 1996). "Wickes names Grimsey as new chief executive". London: Independent.co.uk. Retrieved 16 April 2009.
  4. ^ "Do It All at Wickes". BBC. 1 September 2000. Retrieved 16 April 2009.
  5. ^ Guardian Staff (17 December 2004). "Travis nails Wickes for £950m" – via www.theguardian.com.
  6. ^ Cope, Nigel (7 January 1997). "Wickes to resume trading today". Independent. Retrieved 25 May 2011.
  7. ^ "Wickes – Corporate".
  8. ^ "guardian.co.uk – "Focus DIY sold for £1"". London: guardian.co.uk. 18 June 2007. Retrieved 12 March 2008.
  9. ^ "Wickes buys 13 stores from Focus". BBC. 16 May 2011. Retrieved 16 May 2011.
  10. ^ "Top 20 DIY stores in Britain". The Telegraph. 3 January 2017. Retrieved 14 October 2017.
  11. ^ "Wickes owner Travis Perkins to close 30 branches and axe up to 600 jobs". independent.co.uk. 19 October 2016. Retrieved 23 December 2020.
  12. ^ "DIY retailer Wickes to axe third of head office jobs". bbc.co.uk. 15 May 2018. Retrieved 23 December 2020.
  13. ^ Szajna-Hopgood, Ava (31 July 2019). "Travis Perkins details plans for Wickes demerger". Retrieved 31 July 2019.
  14. ^ "Wickes withdraws from South African venture". independent.co.uk. 18 February 1997. Retrieved 30 December 2017.
  15. ^ "Rights issue to ward off receivers at Wickes". independent.co.uk. 13 December 1996. Retrieved 30 December 2017.
  16. ^ "Bricorama reprend la branche continentale de Wickes". www.lsa-conso.fr. 8 May 1997. Retrieved 30 December 2017.
  17. ^ "Travis Perkins in deal with Ireland's Moritz to open Wickes franchises". citywire.co.uk. 26 October 2007. Retrieved 23 December 2020.
  18. ^ "Wickes strikes franchise deal to enter Ireland". retail-week.com. 26 October 2007. Retrieved 23 December 2020.
  19. ^ "Expansion of Wickes DIY stores put on hold". Irish Independent. 21 April 2009. Retrieved 21 April 2009.
  20. ^ "Travis Perkins PLC (TPK)". investegate.co.uk. 26 October 2007. Retrieved 23 December 2020.
  21. ^ "Liquidator 'denied access' to DIY store in Limerick". limerickleader.ie. 2 July 2013. Retrieved 23 December 2020.

External links[edit]