• Bunnings total sales grow 11% during third quarter
  • Total department store sales up 11.4%
  • “Difficult trading” for Target

Bunnings owner Wesfarmers has unveiled an increase in third-quarter sales as it gears up for an assault on the UK DIY market.

The Australian conglomerate, which bought Homebase from Home Retail Group earlier this year, has reported an increase in sales across the group.

Bunnings’ sales grew 11% to around £1.5bn in the three months to the end of March through “a solid execution of its strategic agenda, which included ongoing investment in value, service and brand reach,” the retail group said.

Wesfarmers plans to scrap the Homebase fascia in the UK and replace it with its Bunnings brand within three to five years.

Wesfarmers managing director Richard Goyder said: “The sales performance of the group’s retail businesses during the quarter was generally pleasing, driven by strong growth in Coles, Bunnings, Kmart and Officeworks.

“Coles’ headline food and liquor sales growth increased by 5.9% during the quarter, including a record number of transactions over the Easter period.”

Department store sales increased by 11.4% during the period, with sales growth in Kmart offsetting “difficult trading in Target”.

“While Target’s sales increased by 2.3% on last year, trading momentum weakened during the quarter, with margins significantly affected by high levels of clearance activity late in the period,” Goyder said.

Wesfarmers made UK headlines with its decision to clear out Homebase’s leadership team in March, just days after completing the £340m deal to acquire the UK DIY and Homewares store.

It also revealed plans this week to cut up to 149 store support jobs in a move to streamline the business.