Wickes

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Wickes
TypePublic
LSEWIX
IndustryRetail
Founded1854
Headquarters,
England, United Kingdom
Number of locations
233 (2020)[1]
Area served
United Kingdom
Key people
Christopher Rogers (Chairman)
David Wood (CEO)
Products
RevenueIncrease £1.34 billion (2020)[1]
Decrease £81.6 million (2020)[1]
Increase £26.3 million (2020)[1]
Websitewww.wickes.co.uk

Wickes is a home improvement retailer and garden centre, based in the United Kingdom with more than 230 stores throughout the country. Its main business is the sale of supplies and materials, for homeowners and the building trade.[2] It is listed on the London Stock Exchange.

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 under the leadership of CEO, Henry Sweetbaum.[3] Serious accounting irregularities, involving the overstatement of profits, were uncovered in June 1996.[4]

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.[5] 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.[6][7][8]

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.[9] The sale was completed in February 2005.[10]

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.[11]

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

In December 1996, the management of Wickes decided to cut back its operations in France, Belgium and the Netherlands and to concentrate solely on its operations in the United Kingdom.[12] All mainland operations in Europe were sold to the French do it yourself chain, Bricorama, in June 1997.[13] The company's joint venture in South Africa ended in February 1997.[14]

In May 2011, it was announced that Wickes had purchased thirteen stores from the appointed administrators of Focus DIY, Ernst & Young, saving 345 jobs.[15] By 2017, the company had over two hundred stores in the United Kingdom.[16] In October 2016, Wickes announced plans to shut stores amid ‘uncertain trading’.[17]

The company had entered into a franchise agreement for the Wickes brand to be operated in Ireland by a subsidiary of Moritz Holdings, an Irish developer.[18][19] The first store opened in Limerick. Moritz had planned to open fifteen stores within five years, but initial plans for a €30 million expansion were later put on hold, pending an assessment of market conditions, in April 2009.[20][21] The franchise relationship ended in February 2013, with the store closed down, and the liquidator was “denied access” to the store.[22]

In May 2018, BBC News Online reported that Wickes planned to cut a third of its head office workforce in a bid to reduce costs. Parent company Travis Perkins said the cuts would affect workers in Watford, Hertfordshire, where it employed three hundred people.[23]

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, 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."[24] In April 2021, it was confirmed that Wickes would be demerged from Travis Perkins by the end of the month.[25]

The demerger was completed on 28 April 2021, with Wickes Group plc launching on the London Stock Exchange.[26]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Wickes Prospectus" (PDF). Travis Perkins. Retrieved 23 April 2021.
  2. ^ "Wickes stores". Wickes.co.uk. Retrieved 27 April 2009.
  3. ^ "The DIY boss and the private network he assembled himself". The Independent. 27 July 1996. Retrieved 24 April 2021.
  4. ^ "INTERNATIONAL BRIEFS; Wickes Says It Found Accounting Irregularities". The New York Times. 26 June 1996. Retrieved 23 December 2020.
  5. ^ Tooher, Patrick (29 November 1996). "Wickes names Grimsey as new chief executive". The Independent. London. Archived from the original on 4 March 2010. Retrieved 16 April 2009.
  6. ^ "Do It All at Wickes". BBC News. 1 September 2000. Retrieved 16 April 2009.
  7. ^ "Travis nails Wickes for £950m". The Guardian. 17 December 2004.
  8. ^ Cope, Nigel (7 January 1997). "Wickes to resume trading today". The Independent. Retrieved 25 May 2011.
  9. ^ "Wickes – Corporate".
  10. ^ "Anticipated acquisition by Travis Perkins plc of Wickes Ltd" (PDF). Office of Fair Trading. 4 February 2005. Retrieved 24 April 2021.
  11. ^ "Focus DIY sold for £1". The Guardian. London. 18 June 2007. Retrieved 12 March 2008.
  12. ^ "Rights issue to ward off receivers at Wickes". The Independent. 13 December 1996. Retrieved 30 December 2017.
  13. ^ "Bricorama reprend la branche continentale de Wickes". www.lsa-conso.fr. 8 May 1997. Retrieved 30 December 2017.
  14. ^ "Wickes withdraws from South African venture". The Independent. 18 February 1997. Retrieved 30 December 2017.
  15. ^ "Wickes buys 13 stores from Focus". BBC News. 16 May 2011. Retrieved 16 May 2011.
  16. ^ "Top 20 DIY stores in Britain". The Telegraph. 3 January 2017. Retrieved 14 October 2017.
  17. ^ "Wickes owner Travis Perkins to close 30 branches and axe up to 600 jobs". independent.co.uk. 19 October 2016. Retrieved 23 December 2020.
  18. ^ "Travis Perkins in deal with Ireland's Moritz to open Wickes franchises". citywire.co.uk. 26 October 2007. Retrieved 23 December 2020.
  19. ^ "Wickes strikes franchise deal to enter Ireland". retail-week.com. 26 October 2007. Retrieved 23 December 2020.
  20. ^ "Expansion of Wickes DIY stores put on hold". Irish Independent. 21 April 2009. Retrieved 21 April 2009.
  21. ^ "Travis Perkins PLC (TPK)". investegate.co.uk. 26 October 2007. Retrieved 23 December 2020.
  22. ^ "Liquidator 'denied access' to DIY store in Limerick". limerickleader.ie. 2 July 2013. Retrieved 23 December 2020.
  23. ^ "DIY retailer Wickes to axe third of head office jobs". BBC News. 15 May 2018. Retrieved 23 December 2020.
  24. ^ Szajna-Hopgood, Ava (31 July 2019). "Travis Perkins details plans for Wickes demerger". Retrieved 31 July 2019.
  25. ^ "Wickes IPO: what to expect from its demerger from Travis Perkins". City Index. 21 April 2021. Retrieved 24 April 2021.
  26. ^ "London Stock Exchange welcomes Wickes Group plc to the Premium Segment of the Main Market". www.londonstockexchange.com. Retrieved 29 April 2021.

External links[edit]