Wesfarmers’ chairman will tour Bunnings stores in the UK with adviser and turnaround expert Archie Norman to assess where the retailer’s UK venture went wrong.

Michael Chaney is visiting stores as the future of the UK arm of Bunnings, which acquired Homebase in 2016, remains uncertain.

Earlier this year, the chain admitted it was considering quitting the UK after the botched takeover led to spiralling losses.

Wesfarmers has drafted in Lazard to advise on options for the business and to seek potential buyers. Private equity firms, including Hilco, Endless and Lion Capital, are believed to have expressed an interest. 

Since the acquisition, the team charged with launching the business in the UK cut the existing Homebase team loose, stripped the retailer of its home furnishings offer and rebranded some stores as Bunnings – a brand unknown to the British customer.

That resulted in the Australian conglomerate writing off more than £500m.

Already committed to closing 40 stores, the business is also considering a CVA. 

Marks & Spencer chairman Norman chairs Lazard’s London business and is thought to have warned Wesfarmers against buying Homebase.