B&Q is to take on leisure and outdoor retailers with the launch of a camping range in March.

The range will include tents and camping equipment and the DIY retailer is also considering selling bikes. B&Q said all stores will sell “some elements” of the range, depending on shop size, ranging from 18 lines to the full 38 line offer.

The move will pile pressure on retailers such as Halfords, Blacks Leisure, Cotswold Outdoor and Mountain Warehouse. Supermarkets - in particular Tesco and Asda - also stock limited camping and cycling lines.

Research house Verdict estimated the camping sector was worth £437m in 2008, while the bikes market was valued at £1.5bn.

A two-man tent starter set at B&Q will cost £29.98; a camping chair is priced at £6.98; while shoppers will be able to pick up a two-litre aluminium whistling kettle for £9.98.

B&Q said there are “no firm plans or commitment” to begin selling bikes. “It is being looked at but not confirmed”, said a spokeswoman.

Shore Capital analyst Kate Calvert said: “B&Q has extra space it has to do something with, but I wouldn’t naturally put outdoor with DIY, although I can see what they are trying to do.

“If you’re going to go into a new category you have to have authority; you need a broad range and you need to give it enough space. The supermarkets have given it a go around the edges but don’t have enough authority. Whether B&Q will have success remains to be seen.”


➤ Halfords has launched a “free delivery to store” service, allowing customers to choose an item from the website and collect in-store.

The service differs from its reserve-and-collect, home delivery and text-and-reserve offers because shoppers can choose from a broader range of goods, as opposed to just the goods in stock at one particular store.

Halfords.com head Chris Corbin said even its smallest store “can now offer the largest store range and Halfords.com should never have products out of stock”.