By Aimee Chanthadavong

Following the release of its end of financial year results, Woolworths says it’s on track to securing 150 sites within the next five years as part of its plan to enter the $24 billion plus hardware retail sector.

Luke Schepen, Woolworths spokesperson, told retailbiz the supermarket giant is ready to take on its soon-to-be competitor and current market leader, Bunnings.

“At the moment, the sector is dominated by a big-box player and we want to increase player competitiveness through different and innovative home improvement needs,” he said.

“We think we can bring a compelling offer to customers and a unique range of goods.”

According to Schepen, since the company’s board approved the plans in 2009, Woolworths has since completed the acquisition of Danks Holdings, Australia’s second largest hardware distributor supplying to Home Timber & Hardware, Thrifty-Link Hardware, and Plants Plus Garden stores, plus 939 independent hardware stores. It has also signed a joint venture equity agreement with US home improvement retailer Lowe’s.

Additionally, in May, Danks acquired Gunns Retail Division and Becks Timber and Hardware in Tasmania.

“We’ve taken on a multi-tiered strategy through the acquisitions and joint venture to create home improvement destination stores,” Schepen explained. 
The first Woolworths hardware stores are expected to open in the second half of 2011.