Homebase looks to women to drive growth strategy

Homebase is hoping its female focused strategy will boost performance as parent company Home Retail Group reports a slide in sales and profit.

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The DIY retailer has pegged the growth of the business on targeting women and “home improvers” rather than men and DIY.

Jo Kenrick, marketing director at Homebase, speaking to Marketing Week ahead of this week’s financial results, says that the future of DIY retailers will be driven by female consumers pursuing home decorating rather than the male DIY segment it has been modelled on in the past.

She says: “Growth is more likely to come from female shoppers and interiors than from men and DIYers, and Homebase is very clear on its understanding that its most important customer for growth is female ’home improvers.”

As part of this strategy it recently unveiled an upmarket own brand interiors range called Home of Style and a trial store concept built around a decorating centre, that it plans to roll out across the estate.

Meanwhile, sister chain Argos is expanding in to China to drive growth, as part of a joint venture with Chinese business Haier Group.

The multi-channel retail business is due to launch in Shanghai in 2012 and plans to expand throughout China.

Parent company Home Retail Group reported a 6% fall in group sales to £2.5bn yesterday (20 October) and a 70% fall in profit to £28m.

Sales at Homebase fell 1.8% to £839.6m for the six months to 27 August, while operating profit fell 35% to £29.9m.

Sales at Argos fell 7.6% to £1.7bn while profit plummeted 93.8% to £3.4m, in the first half of the year.

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