Next’s collaboration with Homebase will be available in stores from today (12 April) as non-essential shops across England open their doors to the public once again.
The retailer will now feature a garden centre section in some stores, as part of a new partnership with Homebase.
Garden by Homebase at Next will see the two retail giants join forces to offer gardening tools and plants as well as advice to shoppers, with the addition of knowledgeable Homebase staff in mini garden centres at some Next stores.
The new garden centre sections will be available in the Shoreham, Ipswich, Warrington, Camberley, Bristol and Sheffield locations.
Since the forced close of the already struggling British High Street at various points throughout the pandemic, brands have had to pivot strategies to stay relevant and promote footfall in-store to compete with online sales.
DIY brand Homebase has long-standing expertise in the gardening sector, so the union means both retailers can benefit from the sales.
Homebase’s CEO, Damian McGloughlin said he was “delighted to be joining forces with Next and bringing our garden products and expertise to its stores,” adding it was well timed as, “more and more people [are] enjoying the benefits of gardening and being outside” since lockdown.
With people spending increased amounts of time at home during the pandemic, DIY, home improvement and gardening have boomed in popularity.
Homebase reported that visits to its DIY advice pages had doubled over the past 12 months. Sales of cushions went up by 80%, demonstrating a newfound passion for interior design among many householders, while paint sales also boomed, with low VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints up as much as 888%.
The retailer also found increased interest in biodiverse types of gardening, as bee and insect-friendly plants made up more than 10% of its plant sales over the year.
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