Toolstation has confirmed it remains on track to open a further 60 UK branches this year – following rising demand for Click & Collect.
Despite being forced to temporarily halt new branch openings during the coronavirus lockdown, the company said it has no doubt it can catch up with its expansion plan by December, employing at least 420 new staff.
Toolstation’s ambitious growth plans have been bolstered by a significant increase in customer numbers during lockdown, it stated, with over 700,000 new customers opting for its Click & Collect and delivery services.
At the end of July, the company had reported increased first-half sales of 37.1%, attributable to a 12.9% increase in like-for-like sales and a 23.6% increase in trading space over the previous twelve months.
“We’re making up for lost time,” said managing director James Mackenzie. “Toolstation opened six new branches in 2020 before lockdown commenced and we’ve launched a further 24 since the end of May.”
“Click & Collect has been a massive success story for us,” Mackenzie said. “We adapted our business model really quickly during lockdown and customers have really embraced the new way of buying. This underlines the importance for our business of creating more retail branches in accessible locations and expanding our coverage to make it easier for trades and DIY customers to easily obtain the products they need with minimum delay between ordering and collection.
“Research among our customers over the past few weeks has revealed that those under 35 are particularly keen on the Click & Collect model. The new generation of tradespeople are digital natives and they are looking for a seamless online ordering and collection experience. We’ll be shaping our expansion plans and our retail estate to maximise the combination of e-commerce and the physical branch network.”
The latest Toolstation branches include Louth, Rugby, March, Sheldon, Witham, Consett, Caerphilly and Fakenham.