Bunnings’ UK losses widened in its first half as its Australian owner Wesfarmers considers the future of its British operations.

Losses ballooned 246% from £28m to £97m during the six months to December 31, 2017, as revenues fell 15.5% to £517m.

As previously guided, Bunnings booked pre-tax significant items of £531m relating to poor trading at the Homebase business it bought back in 2016.

Wesfarmers is currently mulling its future in the UK after managing director Rob Scott admitted that the DIY giant had botched the acquisition.

It is expected to share an update with the market in June.

Scott said that the loss of management knowledge combined with the slow pace of the transition to the Bunnings brand and the decision to remove product lines such as homewares had all hurt performance.

‘Execution challenges’

The debacle is a blow to Wesfarmers’ international expansion plans, which relied on the success of the Bunnings conversion.

Scott said: “The loss for the half reflected continued trading and execution challenges as a result of the rapid repositioning of Homebase following the acquisition.

“The management team has been strengthened and a review is underway to identify the actions required to improve shareholder returns.”

The review of Bunnings UK and Ireland operation is ongoing, as the businesses focuses on improving the trading performance of Homebase.

Bunnings’ UK arm is now headed by former B&Q director Damian McGloughlin, who has permanently replaced PJ Davis at the helm following his retirement.