Homebase cuts losses following closures and job reductions

Following its acquisition by Hilco Capital in June 2018, the British DIY chain Homebase has substantially reduced its losses. A press release states that the loss based on EBITDA in the second half of 2018 fell by GBP 140 mio to GBP 33 mio. Sales between July and December totalled GBP 497.8 mio, 3.5 per cent down on the same period in the previous year. However, 47 unprofitable stores have also been closed since the acquisition. The chain currently has 186 outlets in Great Britain and Ireland. The turnaround plan implemented by the new management around CEO Damian McGloughlin was aimed primarily at reducing fixed costs by GBP 100 mio. In addition to store closures, this was achieved by cutting 38 per cent of the jobs in the head office and relinquishing two of the six distribution centres. By the company's own account, productivity in the remaining stores has been improved by the reintegration of ranges that Homebase was known for prior to its takeover by Wesfarmers/Bunnings, such as furnishings and soft furnishings. The kitchen and lighting offer has been upgraded, and in-store concessions have been reintroduced with brands such as Tapi, Silentnight and Ponden Home. Another feature that has been highlighted is enhanced team member training, which 95 per cent of the employees have undergone.