Smaller Supercentres and ranges under scrutiny at DIY giant

B&Q is to conduct an extensive review of its smaller Supercentre stores as it kicks off the biggest range review in its history.

A key focus for the DIY giant over the past two years has been revamping its big-shed Warehouse format, as well as its smaller mini-Warehouse stores, but it will now turn its attention to finding the right formula for its smaller Supercentre stores.

The planned store and product transformation illustrates the far-reaching changes that the retailer’s board is making under the leadership of chief executive Ian Cheshire.

Alongside its revamp programme, B&Q has launched a massive overhaul of its product range in stores. “This is the biggest range-change programme that I can remember in my history with B&Q,” said managing director of operations Matt Tyson.

Previously, B&Q stated that it would gradually phase out the Supercentre format. However, Tyson said: “We are looking at our smaller stores because we always knew there would be a small tail of the estate – maybe 80 to 100 stores – that would not fit naturally into the mini-Warehouse proposition.”

Tyson remained tight-lipped about its plans for the Supercentres, but said: “We will make sure we target Supercentres for the right opportunity for the market, but we absolutely see a future for them.” A key part of this review will be finding the right product mix and price points.

The Supercentre stores are about 30,000 sq ft, compared with the 40,000 sq ft mini-Warehouses, and are typically located in small market towns.

B&Q is also planning to complete the revamp of its 117-strong Warehouse store before the end of 2009, about a year ahead of its original timetable.

In terms of range, B&Q has so far focused on overhauling its softer product ranges this year, but it now plans to revamp harder ranges, such as power tools and other hardware. Its power tools range will increase by 700 lines