Wesfarmers hits back with $600m Bunnings boost

Following Woolworths’ planned billion-dollar drive into the $36 billion home improvement sector with US partner Lowes, Bunnings owner Wesfarmers has struck back with a plan to invest more than $600m in a major New South Wales expansion, creating 2,700 permanent jobs and a further 3,900 during construction.


Woolworths has set itself a target of 150 stores by 2014-15, starting from a nil base. In comparison, Bunnings in NSW alone currently has 77 operating sites, comprising 53 Bunnings warehouse stores, 17 small-format stores, 5 trade centres and 2 frame and truss plants. Since June 2009, Bunnings has opened 4 new warehouse stores, 1 smaller format store, and 2 trade centres.


The $600 million investment in New South Wales will lead to the opening of 18 metro and regional sites over the next three years, creating more than 2,700 new permanent jobs and over 3,900 additional jobs during the construction phase. The announcement was made as the site of Australia’s largest home improvement store was unveiled at Alexandria in Sydney.


Bunnings has secured sites for 12 new Bunnings Warehouses at Alexandria, Balgowlah, Batemans Bay, Castle Hill, West Gosford, Greenacre, Rouse Hill, Tamworth, Marsden Park, Wallsend, Smithfield, and East Gardens. Of those sites, development approvals are already in place for Alexandria, Castle Hill, Rouse Hill and Tamworth with construction starting soon.


Additionally, three new Bunnings Warehouses are currently under construction and will open soon, in Seven Hills (October 2010), Port Stephens (December 2010) and Chatswood (February 2011). An existing business has been secured at Lithgow and plans are also underway to open two new trade centres at St Peters and Cromer.


Since July 2009, Bunnings has opened stores in Armidale, Wagga Wagga, Narellan, Morriset and Cowra, and trade centres in Tuggerah and Unanderra. The latest investment accelerates Bunnings’ growth in New South Wales and is part of an ongoing nationwide network expansion strategy. Bunnings offers the widest range, lowest prices and best service to families and householders across Australia and New Zealand in the $36 billion home improvement and outdoor living market.


Australia’s biggest home improvement store in Alexandria


The Alexandria Warehouse, which was purchased from CSR, is on a 2.6 hectare site on Euston Road, Alexandria. At 20,000m² it will be Australia’s largest home improvement and outdoor living store and will create over 255 permanent jobs and a further 345 during construction. Scheduled to open in mid-2012, Alexandria will house a main warehouse over two levels, a timber trade area and an outdoor nursery. It will have on-site parking for over 560 cars and a kids' playground. In keeping with the industrial history of the Euston Road site, the new store will incorporate part of the existing warehouse into the building which will be adapted into a functional space housing the outdoor nursery.


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