Own brand is playing an increasingly critical role in the fight to stand out and drive innovation in the competitive home and DIY sector.

In this column a few weeks ago I wrote about the prospect of Argos launching an own-brand homewares range, and this morning the retailer unveiled a few details of it.

A lot is riding on the range for Argos, which is trying to breathe new life into its once thriving home business. Called Heart of House, the range comprises 1,200 furniture, upholstery and other homewares products and is due to go on sale later this year, accompanied by a major marketing campaign.

Own brand is playing an increasingly critical role in the fight to stand out and drive innovation in the competitive home and DIY sector. Ikea has never sold anything but own brand and Kingfisher’s model is increasingly geared towards exclusive product; it leverages its group buying power to manufacture its own products that it then sells across the group.

Argos sister retailer Homebase also aims to up its own-brand participation, driving, in particular, kitchen brands Schreiber and Hygena as well as the Home Retail-owned Habitat business.

New Home Retail chief executive John Walden seems to recognise the benefit. “Significant levels of research and planning have gone into the development of the brand,” he said. “Customers told us they were looking for a brand that offered great products for the home at great prices.

“We plan to develop Heart of House as a significant brand in its own right, which our customers recognise, connect to and desire.”

Time will tell whether shoppers will in fact connect with Heart of House, but Walden is certainly heading in the right direction to get Argos well known for home once more.

  • Nicola Harrison is news editor at Retail Week