Homebase to put mini-garden centres into Next stores

Shoppers heading out to browse the fashion rails this week, will no doubt also want to pick up a pot plant, a trowel or a packet of seeds.

That’s what Homebase is banking on, as it stakes out new plots at six of Next’s stores.

It is also opening more small-format outlets in a “show of its belief in the British High Street”.

Home improvement stores have done better than many shops, as locked-down consumers turned to DIY projects.

But retailers across the board know they’re facing a challenge to revitalise the bricks and mortar experience as the economy gradually reopens.

Over the past year the shift to online shopping has accelerated dramatically and consumers have switched to different products.

Next saw its sales drop by 17% as people stopped buying clothes for the office and evenings out, and switched instead to joggers and pyjamas.

So the chain is making space at its stores in Shoreham, Ipswich, Warrington, Camberley, Bristol and Sheffield, for garden tools and plants to cater to consumers’ new hobbies. Homebase staff will also be available in these Next stores to offer advice.

“It’s all part of our wider commitment to make shopping with us easier and provide even more inspiration and expert advice,” said Homebase’s chief executive Damian McGloughlin.

“We’re a great nation of gardeners, with more and more people enjoying the benefits of gardening and being outside.”

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