Apr 26, 2018

Wesfarmers blames UK weather for sales slump at Homebase

Wesfarmers blamed poor weather in the UK on Thursday for a further slump in sales at Homebase, the struggling British DIY retailer it bought in 2016 and is rebranding Bunnings UK and Ireland. Total sales decreased 14.7 per cent to £726m during the first three quarters of the year, highlighting the major challenge facing Wesfarmers as it attempts to turn round performance at the division. Wesfarmers has admitted bungling the 2016 acquisition of Homebase, the company's first major overseas expansion. The company has appointed bankers to explore divestment opportunities for the UK division, although Rob Scott, Wesfarmers chief executive, indicated in February that selling the business was not his preferred option. The deteriorating performance of Bunnings UK and Ireland poses a major challenge to Wesfarmers, which wrote down the value of its UK arm by A$1bn in February.

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