A little while ago it was announced that Kingfisher, owners of the B&Q chain, was to close 60 of it’s stores across the UK. The group reported profits of £664m for 2014, down 15.2% on the year previous. But it wasn’t all bad news. Kingfisher also owns the trade outlet chain Screwfix. They also announced on the same day that they are to open another 60 stores. So good news for those losing their jobs at B&Q as they will probably just move over to Screwfix. But for me, this is a telling sign about the state of trades.

A rise in professional work?

B&Q has generally been the place where DIY homeowners would go to pick up some gear and set about doing whatever work needed doing themselves. It’s been an age old thing. We all know how our dads could probably have a go at anything in the house, whether it be plastering, wood work, building a wall, knocking down a wall etc. The older generation did it themselves.

But now, I think with the demise of 60 B&Q stores and the rise of 60 Screwfix ones, that trend is changing. Tradesmen and women go to Screwfix, not DIY-ers. To me, that signals a shift in homeowner attitudes. More and more are wanting professional trades in to do whatever job needs doing in their house. And you can see why. We all live busier lives now. Many more things demand our attention. So the importance of small to medium sized home improvements has fallen down the list.

Good for us

The perceived fall in DIY could be a sign for stronger growth across all home improvement sectors. If younger generations aren’t willing to take up the tasks themselves, then trades people will find they become busier over the next few years, barring any major economic problems.

On the window and door front, although a task not many homeowners do take upon themselves to do, we can rest easy in the knowledge that the trend isn’t going the other way. The fact that people appear to be spending more and more money on getting tradespeople to do work for them is a positive thing. It’s a demonstration that it’s easier and more likely that a better job is going to get done if a professional does it.

So in the end, whilst on the surface it looks bad that 60 B&Q stores are going to close, the bigger picture actually probably points to a more positive outlook. Well, if you’re a trades-person at least anyway!

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