AUSTRALIAS biggest DIY chain has crossed the pond and opened its first UK store in St.Albans today.
The retailer, which bought Homebase last year for 340 million, is perhaps most famous for its sausage sizzles a sausage wrapped in a slice of white bread with tomato sauce.
The company plans to invest up to 500 million rolling out Bunnings warehouses in the UK and Ireland over the next three to five years, replacingHomebase stores across the UK.
The St. Albans pilot store is67,000 square feet and employs 68 people almost double the workforce of the previous Homebase store, a statement from the retailer points out.
A third of team members are aged over 50, and include former plumbers, painters, electricians and other trades people.
The store stocks more than 30,000 different home and garden linesand there is a 19,000 square feet garden centre and a dedicated DIY workshop area in store. Theres also a caf and indoor childrens playground.
Wesfarmers, which owns Bunnings, says it is on track to open at least four pilot stores in the UK by June, creating 120 jobs.
The Australianconglomerate is looking totake on rival Kingfisher which owns B&Q in the 38 billion home improvement and garden market.
To celebrate the opening of Bunnings in St Albans, the store introduced its famous fundraising sausage sizzlewith Peter PJ Davis, managing director of Bunnings UK and Ireland, cooking breakfast for team members.
He said: Its great to be able to give people a taste of what Bunnings is all about.
Our policy is to offer customers the lowest prices, the widest range and best service, and hopefully our first pilot store demonstrates that.
Davis added:A second Bunnings Warehouse store in Hatfield Road, St. Albans will open in April and we are on track to have at least four pilots up and running by the summer.
We are laying strong foundations on which to build the Bunnings Warehouse business in the UK and Ireland for generations to come.
Retail analyst Geoff Dart said it was too early to say whether the UK expansion would be a success, but that Bunnings had a good track record of converting businesses.
The sausage sizzle should help draw in the punters, as its hugely popular with Aussie shoppers. Many have taken to Twitter to express their excitement about the Aussie snack coming to the UK.
The sandwich will be available to British shoppers for 1.50, with the proceeds going to a different local community group each week.
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