The first Bunnings Warehouse pilot store will open at an existing Homebase site in St Albans in mid-February 2017. At least another three Bunnings UK stores are expected to open before the end of June 2017.

Wesfarmers chairman Michael Chaney said: “Entering any new country is always challenging and there are many examples of Australian companies which have tried and failed, but this investment was only made after a very extensive analysis of the business, market and prospects.

“Bunnings looks forward to applying the skills it has acquired in understanding customer needs, supply chain management and merchandising in a new geography; and the size of the Hombase investment, while not small, is very manageable given the Group’s balance sheet.

“It will take years to get the Homebase chain into the shape we want it in, but we are not daunted by that. As we have seen in Bunnings, if you get the formula right you can enjoy decades of profitable growth in this business.”

Wesfarmers managing director, Richard Goyder said, “To date, good progress is being made across all elements of the acquisition agenda, including range, pricing, marketing and operations. Customer feedback on the changes made since our acquisition has been overwhelmingly positive.”

This story originally appeared on Appliance Retailer.