Homebase to be rebranded Bunnings after £340m Wesfarmers takeover

Homebase was founded in 1979 and first opened its doors in Croydon and Leeds in 1981

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The Independent Online

Homebase is going to be rebranded Bunnings after it was sold to Australian retail giant Wesfarmers for £340 million.

Bunnings is the name of Wesfarmer's existing Australian DIY chain. Within three to five years, it will also be the name of all of the UK's 265 Homebase outlets, giving Wesfarmer's control over the second largest DIY chain in the UK.

The name-change will start with a handful of pilot stores, a spokesperson confirmed to The Independent. Bunnings, which uses staff members to front its adverts, is planning expanded opening hours, investment in online shopping and customer service training for staff. 

Homebase-owner Home Retail Group revealed that it was nearing a deal with Wesfarmers last week after four months of discussions. The news comes not long after Sainsbury's made a bid for Argos, a sister company of Homebase under the Home Retail Group umbrella.

That deal was rejected by Argos, but Sainsbury's has said that it is planning another bid.

Richard Goyder, managing director of Wesfarmers, said that his team had extensively researched the UK home improvement market, which is valued at £38 billion.

"The Bunnings team has done a lot of work to make sure it understands the market and the opportunity, including having visited hundreds of stores, spending significant time researching the market and closely studying international retail expansions into the UK and other markets," he said. 

Homebase was founded in 1979 and first opened its doors in Croydon and Leeds in 1981. 

Home Retail Group warned last week that annual profits would come in at the lower end of analysts' expectations because of disappointing sales at Argos over Christmas.

Bunnings is known for its "sausage sizzles" in Australia, where community groups are allowed to hold fundraising barbeques outside of stores.

No word yet whether soggy sausages will soon be a fixture of home improvement shopping in the UK.