Giant outlets planned as DIY giants do battle

By Anne Gibson

New Zealand's DIY market battleground is to get 14 new stores from two of the biggest players, including a 1.2ha giant site in New Lynn.

Jacqui Coombes, Bunnings chief executive, last year announced five new stores but since then the chain has revealed plans for its biggest Auckland outlet - a multi-level 1.2ha New Lynn giant with vast underground carparking on a sloping site.

Bunnings had 48 stores at the end of last year, including Bunnings Warehouses, smaller format stores and trade centres. Bunnings has announced plans for six new stores, targeting high-growth areas Silverdale, Takanini, Hawera, New Plymouth and Blenheim.

The New Lynn multi-level store will have a level of carparking beneath the building, taking advantage of the site.

John Hartmann, Mitre 10 chief executive, said this week his chain would build eight new Mega stores before the end of this year, investing an estimated $160 million in the growing sector.

DIY customers, including builders and contractors, are also taking advantage of the extremely dry Auckland building season.

"A lot of gib and cement is going out too. In tools, it's cordless drills - just about every home would have one - dual action saws with counter rotating blades and the multi-tool you see advertised on TV," a Mitre 10 spokesman said

Hartmann said building product sales rose 23.4 per cent last month on December 2011, hardware and gardening sales were up 7.6 per cent and renovation and decor product lines up 6.5 per cent.

Mitre 10 has a North Island big-store growth focus, aiming to head off Bunnings in a turf war one developer said was like supermarkets, based purely on footprint.

"The only way these businesses can really grow their market share and profits is to get more stores on the ground," he said.

Of the eight Mega stores planned, only Queenstown has been announced.

In August, the Environment Court approved a new Mitre 10 Mega store at Frankton Flats near the site where the consent for a Pak'n Save supermarket was being appealed. The proposed single-level 6249sq m Mega building on a 1.82ha site is surrounded by non-rural land and had a formed legal road running through it.

Locations of the other seven have not been announced because either resource consent had yet to be sought, had been applied for but not granted, or the business was not in a position to reveal further details of expansion, the spokesman said.

"But all seven are in the North Island and in a mixture of cities or provincial centres," he said.

- The Aucklander

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