DAHLSENS has confirmed it has sold its Sale, Warragul and Horsham stores to Bunnings, confirming rumours which have been circulating for months.
The Sale store will trade as Bunnings from February 16.
In a media release issued this morning by Dahlsens management, it said the sale would mean a few roles would be made redundant at the support office.
It is understood Bunnings representatives met with Dahlsens Sale staff earlier this week, telling them they would keep their jobs, but under changed work conditions.
This latest announcement follows one issued on November 30 where Dahlsens announced it would be scaling back operations at its Albury, Ballarat and Traralgon stores, to largely focus on trade business.
“The long term strategic direction for our business has been to concentrate on the trade,” Dahlsens commented.
“Until recently, our retail business supported that direction and we were comfortable maintaining those stores.
“However, the increasing intensity in retail hardware, especially with the competition between Bunnings and Woolworths, along with an extremely tough market, is forcing us to re-focus our energy on our core business.
“Reluctantly we have made the decision to substantially reduce our exposure in retail hardware and have reached agreement to sell our Horsham, Sale and Warragul stores to Bunnings.
“This is the second half of our earlier announcement to scale back Albury, Ballarat and Traralgon so that we are almost totally dedicated to our trade business.
“Taking these steps will allow the stores to focus on their trade business which is the core of Dahlsens and where we know we have a strong and successful business model.
“The company remains one of Victoria’s leading pre-fabricated frame and truss manufacturers with six assembly sites that cover the state’s main agglomerations, notably Ballarat, Craigieburn and Traralgon.
“Our 18 trade centres across Victoria and southern New South Wales serve the region’s builders and tradespeople with the timely supply of building materials and tools.
“The three subject stores will trade as Bunnings on February 9 for Warragul, February 16 for Sale and February 23 for Horsham.
“This announcement marks a big turning point for Dahlsens and it will be very sad to no longer have these stores as part of our group.
“Unfortunately, with the downsizing of the business, it does mean that a few roles will be made redundant at the support office and we will lose good people.
“For those affected, the company would like to publicly thank them all for their dedication and effort.”
Bunnings managing director John Gillam said the purchases formed part of Bunnings’ continuing investment across Australia which had included opening seven new Bunnings Warehouses in Victoria since June last year.
“We see great potential in the regional Victoria home improvement and building markets and expanding our network into new areas is a key priority for us,” he said.
The spokesman said all current Dahlsens store employees would be offered employment with Bunnings.
“Bunnings is excited to be able to bring a wider range of new products and services to Sale,” Mr Gillam said.
“Community groups will also benefit from the introduction of the well known Bunnings community sausage sizzles each weekend.”
Bunnings expects that the store will be re-branded and transformed into one of Bunnings’ smaller format stores by the end of February.
Sale Community Business Association was cautiously optimistic about the announcement, association president Mandy Garrand also congratulating Dahlsens on the major role it had played in the local business community for many years.
“Specifically in the past decade or so, Dahlsens has been the major supplier of building materials for the many new housing estates and hundreds of other new homes that have been built in Sale and surrounding areas,” she said
“We thank Dahlsens for many years of keeping local people employed both directly and indirectly and we now welcome Bunnings into our business community who we hope will continue that trend.”
To find out what readers think about Bunnings taking over the Sale Dahlsens store, read Friday’s Gippsland Times.