With Homebase set to close 42 stores across the UK, it is the latest casualty among a number of high street retailers facing uncertainty. Homebase has been part of our high street for nearly 40 years, but how do its customers rate it?
With the recent turbulence Homebase has experienced – its sale and re-branding in 2017, closure of 17 of its stores, a bailout in 2018 and now more store closures – it would appear that Homebase’s customers are turning away.
Our latest high street survey certainly reflects that. When we asked 10,356 people in January 2018 about their high-street shopping experiences, Homebase got a customer score of 64%, putting it near the bottom of our table. The three joint-top retailers – Lush, Savers and Smyths Toys – scored 81%.
Its digital offering fared worse. In June 2017, we asked 10,500 people about their experiences of purchasing products online, and homebase.co.uk came last of 100 websites.
Visit our page on the best and worst high street brands to see where other popular shops came in our round-up of the top 100.
Homebase – what’s been happening?
The DIY store has been in trouble for a some time. In 2016, it was bought by Wesfarmers, which owns Australian DIY store Bunnings. It started re-branding 24 stores to Bunnings in 2017, but the business continued to struggle.
In May 2018, investment and advisory company Hilco Capital purchased the brand for just £1, after Wesfarmers decided to abandon the store amid massive losses. To cut costs and stop the further decline of the brand, Hilco has started a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA).
Companies can use CVAs as a way to pay off debts over a period of time, whilst still being able to trade ‘as normal’, assuming its creditors have agreed. Hilco will now be closing 42 of Homebase’s stores over the coming months and into early 2019, and re-branding the new Bunnings stores back to Homebase.
Homebase – what its customers say
When looking at Homebase in its area of expertise alongside 14 of its direct rivals, such as Wickes, Screwfix and B&Q, it fails to impress its customers. The top-scoring company got a customer score of 80%, while the bottom just 55%.
Homebase scored 64% – not the worst, but far from the best.
Our overall customer scores are made up of the ratings given for satisfaction about specific areas – such as customer service and value for money – and whether someone would recommend a brand to a friend.
Comments from shoppers about their ratings reveal that the service Homebase offers can be very mixed:
- ‘Poor, slow service at the check-out points.’
- ‘The products I need are available and there are plenty of staff about.’
- ‘It has a good range at reasonable prices and it always has stock.’
- ‘There’s lots of choice, it’s easy to find what I want and at good prices.’
- ‘It’s been more competitively priced recently, but lacks some of the DIY staple items.’
- ‘Always great choices at good prices – regular special offers and everything is high quality.’
- ‘The products are good, however it looks more like a jumble sale in places, with products stacked high and few gaps between shelving.’
- ‘It has a rather hap-hazard layout, but once you are able to locate the type of item you are looking for, it has a good range.’
- ‘The stock is badly arranged, staff have little or no knowledge, there is inadequate staff at tills and it’s difficult to find what you need.’
Homebase kitchens and bathrooms
Homebase doesn’t just sell basic DIY products, such as paint and nails – it also sells a range of kitchens and bathrooms.
Homebase recently discontinued all of its kitchens and rebranded them under the name Kit + Kaboodle, many of which fall into a similar style to its previous offering.
We regularly survey kitchen and bathroom owners to find out what they really think of well-known retailers, including John Lewis, Ikea, Bathstore, B&Q and Homebase.
Our results have shown big differences between the brands. For kitchens, the highest-scoring brand got a customer score of 90%, while the bottom just 56%. When it comes to bathrooms, the best scored 80%, and the worst 57%.
Homebase didn’t do particularly well for either. Like a few of the lower-scoring companies, it got three-star ratings for many areas, including customer service.