But all options are open, and we will go through this review in a very detailed way, with a very strong focus on improving performance and reducing the cash losses. We will be able to update on the outcomes of that review in June. This followed on from some of the introductory remarks of Mr Scott, where he stated: In summary, the trading losses at buki are a function of lost sales of exiting ranges such as kitchens, bathrooms, and decorative lines, together with various retail concessions. The expansion of ranging in core home improvement categories, together with a significant investment in price, did not offset the loss of sales and margins as a result of these changes. The initial strategy was to rapidly reset the homebase business, to facilitate conversion to bunnings. The pace and nature of this change was not well received by traditional Homebase customers.
Erecting a new building country
That said, what Mr Scott did deliver was an early preview of higher some of the analysis the company has made of exactly what is going wrong with buki, indicating the areas where the retail operation needed to change. Those areas were: The operations of the refitted Homebase stores. The importance (or unimportance) of kitchens. The strategy for the conversion assignment of Homebase stores into pilot Bunnings uk stores. Refitted Homebase stores, much of the discussion during the presentation about the poor performance of buki as a whole concerned what Wesfarmers now regards as poor choices made in the rapid refit of the homebase stores in the year following their final acquisition in April. In general terms, the new Wesfarmers viewpoint is that as Homebase was profitable when it was acquired by wesfarmers, it should either have been left alone, or undergone only mild, and slow changes to its retail offer. This was spelled out fairly clearly by Mr Scott in response to a question by a morgan Stanley analyst, who asked whether Wesfarmers should simply "pull the plug and abandon the entire enterprise. Mr Scott responded: It certainly would not be the preferred outcome. What we are mindful of is that a lot of the issues we are dealing with today have been, to be frank, self-induced. Two years ago homebase was a business that was profitable. We now have a team that understands the uk market, we have a number of opportunities to improve performance, and that is very much what we are focused.
Former Officeworks executive david haydon, who had previously been appointed as general manager at buki, will step into Mr plan McGloughlin's former position as coo. Mr Scott offered a valedictory comment on Mr davis's retirement, stating: pj has been instrumental in driving the growth and success of Bunnings for the past three decades and in the establishment of the bunnings Warehouse format in Australia in the 1990s. The statement reported a comment from the current managing director of Bunnings, michael Schneider: Mr Schneider said he was grateful for the contributions Mr davis has made to the bunnings organisation and the culture of the business. Presentation, the media and asx release gave notice of the write-down itself and the departure of Mr davis, but Wesfarmers made use of a combined investment analyst/media presentation to more fully articulate a general change in the direction of its strategy for buki. This event was hosted by Mr Scott and recently-appointed Wesfarmers chief financial officer (cfo anthony gianotti. Held on 5 February 2018 at 11am aedt, this 80-minute event began with an eight-minute introduction by Mr Scott, followed by 45 minutes of questions from analysts, and finished with 25 minutes of questions by members of the mainstream media, including News Limited, reuters, and. While Mr Scott gave some strong indications of a change of direction in buki's strategy, the discussion contained only hints of what might actually happen over the coming four months. Mr Scott's repeated answer was to say that the review mentioned earlier would have to be concluded first, with decisive action to be announced at the june 2018 Strategy day.
Sales have been affected as non-core categories and concessions were exited ahead of the implementation of the bunnings format, and investments in price and new ranges have not offset these lost sales. Trading was particularly weak during the latter part of the first half of the 2018 financial year. Our focus is on improving the profitability of Homebase through improved ranging and execution in stores, while continuing to develop plans for a broader conversion to bunnings. The team has been strengthened, including through the addition of strong local expertise, to support improved outcomes. The same statement also announces the retirement of the managing director of buki, peter (PJ) davis. Mr davis is being replaced by buki's chief operating officer (COO) Damian McGloughlin. Mr McGloughlin was recruited in mid-2017 from Kingfisher's uk home improvement retail operation b q, where he had worked for 34 years.
Holding, small, businesses, back
Australian retail, mining and chemical conglomerate wesfarmers announced on 5 February 2018 that it was taking what amounts to.026 billion write-down on its home improvement retail operations in the uk ireland. The trigger for the write-down was that Bunnings uk and Ireland (buki) suffered an accelerated loss during the first half of FY2018. Buki produced estimated pre-tax losses of 165 million for the period from to 31 December 2017. This contrasts with a market forecast of losses of 110 million - for the entire 2018 financial year. The core reason for this write-down, according to bunnings, was a decline in its retail sales from mid-november to the end of December - or, to put this in more accurate and less euphemistic terms, buki saw sales collapse during the core of the Christmas. While that decline included both the 240 stores that are still branded as Homebase as well as the 19 Bunnings pilot stores, the company says it intends to concentrate on improving the returns from the homebase network over the coming year.
Wesfarmers' response to this failure has been to launch a review. According to a statement issued by wesfarmers: A review of buki has commenced to identify the actions required to improve shareholder returns. The review is focused on options to improve the trading performance of Homebase as well as further evaluating the performance of the pilot stores to inform the future plans for buki. The recently appointed managing director for Wesfarmers, rob Scott, is"d in the statement as saying: we will take a disciplined approach to further capital deployment in buki and provide an update on the outcomes of the business review and our plans for a broader. The current managing director of Bunnings, michael Schneider, is reported as making the following comments in the statement: It is clear that a significant amount of change has been driven through Homebase since the acquisition and the disruption caused by the rapid repositioning of the.
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