Bunnings at Westwood will revert back to Homebase following the sale of the chain by its Australian owner Wesfarmers for just £1.
Wesfarmers paid some £340million for the chain in 2016 but say the investment has been “disappointing.”
It has been bought by restructuring company Hilco. The new management buy-out team is led by CEO Damian McGloughlin, supported and funded by Hilco.
Under the terms of the agreement, Hilco will acquire all Homebase assets, including the Homebase brand, its store network, freehold property, property leases and inventory. The 24 Bunnings pilot stores, including the one at Westwood, will convert to the Homebase brand following completion.
The Westwood store was rebranded as Bunnings and opened last September. An official opening was hosted by TV sports pundit Gary Pallister. The store has 85 staff.
Wesfarmers say the investment had been disappointing with problems arising from poor execution post-acquisition.
The operating performance of the business has improved in recent months under the new management team led by Damian McGloughlin but Wesfarmers took the decision to exit the UK following a review of the business.
Damian McGloughlin, CEO, said: “We are very pleased to have reached an agreement with Hilco and this marks an exciting new chapter for Homebase. With Hilco’s support we have the commitment of an experienced partner, substantial additional capital, stability for the business and the opportunity to reinvigorate a brand that has been a mainstay of UK retail for over 40 years.
“I would like to thank our team members for their commitment during what has been a testing time for the business. The momentum we have seen in the business over recent peak trading periods and their dedicated support to our customers gives us a strong platform from which to build.”
It is unclear whether the rebrand will affect staffing although Wesfarmer had previously announced plans to shut between 20 and 40 of its UK stores.