Bunnings to open 16 new stores, creating 1,000 jobs

 
Helen Cahill
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Bunnings is Australia's largest hardware retailer (Source: Bunnings)

DIY retailer Bunnings is opening another 16 UK stores before the end of the year, creating around 1,000 new jobs.

The retailer, which is Australia's largest hardware chain, has already opened four pilot stores in the UK and is looking to expand, starting with new outlets south of London.

The first four Bunnings stores created 224 new jobs.

Read more: Homebase to get Aussie rebrand as HRG completes deal

Today Bunnings opened its largest store to date in Milton Keynes. The store, which has a cafe and a children's play area, stocks more than 35,000 products across 90,000 square feet (sq ft) of space.

The next store opening will be in Folkestone in July, on a site formerly occupied by B&Q.

Bunnings' managing director PJ Davis said the firm was opening new shops because there were "positive signs" from trading in its pilot stores.

However, he admitted that the current trading environment "couldn't be tougher" for retailers because consumers are being squeezed by rising inflation.

"This will drive customers to value and to the very best proposition," he said.

Retail spending has been flagging in recent months, with non-food retailers struggling in particular as shoppers trim their discretionary spending.

Earlier this week, Debenhams gave a gloomy outlook for the sector, and DFS' share price crashed this month following a profit warning.

Read more: Sofa, not so good: DFS shares crash as it warns on profit

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