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England, United Kingdom
Number of locations
Area served
United Kingdom
Key people
David Wood, CEO
£70m (approx)
ParentTravis Perkins Group

Wickes is a British home improvement retailer and garden centre, based in the United Kingdom and owned by the Travis Perkins Group, with more than 240 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 kitchens and bathrooms, to more bespoke professionally designed kitchens and bathrooms.


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] 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.[3][4][5]

Wickes grew from 131 stores in October 2000 to 172 in March 2004, including the rebranding of 36 stores of Focus DIY. In December 2004, Focus Group sold Wickes to Travis Perkins.[6] The sale was completed in February 2005. In October 2007, Wickes acquired seven stores from Focus DIY, after Cerberus Capital took it over in June 2007 for £1, these stores were in Glossop, Mansfield, Penrith, Bulwell, Plumstead, Dumfries, and Hereford.[7]

New Style Wickes Store. Crawley, West Sussex

In May 2011, it was announced that Wickes had purchased thirteen stores from the appointed administrators of Focus DIY, Ernst & Young, saving 345 jobs.[8] By 2017, the company had over two hundred stores in the United Kingdom.[9] In October 2016, The Independent reported that Wickes announced plans to shut stores amid ‘uncertain trading’.

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.

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.”[10][10]

Regional Operations[edit]

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.[citation needed] Following the financial troubles the parent company encountered, the venture ended in February 1997.[11] Shortly afterwards, the Wickes name was removed from all stores in South Africa.[citation needed]

Mainland Europe[edit]

The Wickes brand had ventured into some Northern European nations such as (Belgium, France and the Netherlands).[citation needed] However, in December 1996, after financial irregularities were uncovered, Wickes management believed that the only way to survive the troubles was to concentrate solely on their United Kingdom operations.[12] In June 1997, all mainland European operations were sold to the French DIY chain Bricorama.[13]


In April 2009, Wickes started an expansion into Ireland, opening its first franchised Irish store in Limerick.[14] In February 2013, this franchise relationship ended, with the store closed down.[citation needed]


  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. ^ "Do It All at Wickes". BBC. 1 September 2000. Retrieved 16 April 2009.
  4. ^ Staff, Guardian (17 December 2004). "Travis nails Wickes for £950m" – via www.theguardian.com.
  5. ^ Cope, Nigel (7 January 1997). "Wickes to resume trading today". Independent. Retrieved 25 May 2011.
  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. ^ "Top 20 DIY stores in Britain". The Telegraph. 3 January 2017. Retrieved 14 October 2017.
  10. ^ a b Szajna-Hopgood, Ava (31 July 2019). "Travis Perkins details plans for Wickes demerger".
  11. ^ "Wickes withdraws from South African venture". independent.co.uk. 18 February 1997. Retrieved 30 December 2017.
  12. ^ "Rights issue to ward off receivers at Wickes". independent.co.uk. 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 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.

External links[edit]