Workshops, deconstructed houses and visual merchandising are to the fore in French retailer Leroy Merlin’s Le Havre store.

Leroy Merlin is a name that will be familiar to many who have driven through France. It is one of the usual suspects to be found on every French edge-of-town development.

Those visiting the Le Havre store however will see something different from the Leroy Merlin norm. Following a format created by consultancy Dalziel + Pow, the store aims to deliver a warmer feeling for the home ‘deco’ department while at the same time maintaining the credibility of the harder-end DIY offer.

Practically, that means a brand new 100,000 sq ft store which features a large deconstructed house and garden at the front of the shop where visual merchandising and storytelling are to the fore. Products are displayed within a series of ‘ateliers’ – practical workshops staffed by ‘artisan’ makers.

An emphasis is placed on test-driving the merchandise through a ‘School of DIY’ where shoppers are taught plastering and installing decking, among other things. And visitors can read about their project in the new design library.

For most, DIY is a chore, but this one has within it the seeds of enjoyment.