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Company History

The Wickes name goes as far back as 1854, when Henry Dunn Wickes and his brother started a modest operation in the local lumber business in Michigan, USA.

Wickes as we recognise it today really started in the 1950s American property boom, with the creation of a one-stop-shop selling builders a full range of construction products at prices often lower than local yards and merchants…

Wickes in the UK

In 1972 the first UK Wickes was opened in Whitefield, Manchester. It was an imaginative new concept - using a traditional DIY store model to sell to the trade - and it made Wickes the first fixed-price builders merchant in the UK.

Our first customers (savvy tradesmen and a few keen DIYers) found they could now get all the products they needed to complete entire projects from a single store, at lower prices than other merchants.

Owning the brand

We soon discovered that increasing our range of own-brand products gave us distinct advantages. We saved in-store space by not stocking other brands, and we could closely control the supply and manufacturing of our own-brand products. This enabled us to offer a quality range of products at consistently low prices. By the early 90s, we were more or less completely own-brand. In recent years, as the number of our trade customers has increased, we have added trusted trade brands (such as Stanley, Bosch and Makita) to our range of own-brand products.

Building trust

Because most of the products we sell are own-brand, our reputation relies on our products performing well. To ensure this we independently test our products against the best in the market, checking that each one is up to the job and can be relied on 100% by our customers.

The Wickes Quality Assurance Team travels thousands of miles each year to check the production quality of our key suppliers. This ensures we protect our brand and when customers buy our products, they can be confident that they are getting the best value for money.

 

 

Key Dates

1972 - Wickes opens its first UK store in Whitefield, Manchester.

1976 - We now have 4 stores including a branch in Station Road, Harrow.

1986 - Our 25th Wickes store in England opens in Bristol on the 5th March.

1987 - Harrow store becomes the Wickes Retail Support Centre.

1990 - We pass the 50 store mark, and introduce a new 70/30 format (30% of space dedicated to home projects such as kitchens and conservatories) pioneered in Warrington and Wimbledon.

1995 - Wickes opens its 100th store in Hanworth, Middlesex.

1997 - We launch the 'renewal' store refits with new flooring, lower shelving and improved kitchen & bathroom display areas.

2000 - Wickes is bought by the Focus Group.

2003 - Barking opens as a pilot Wickes Extra store, with 50ksq feet and an extended product range.

2005 - Travis Perkins acquires Wickes for £950m.

2006 - Wickes.co.uk is launched as a transactional website.

2009 - The Wickes installation service launches, providing professional kitchen and bathroom installation throughout the UK.

2010 - The Wickes Catalogue is launched nationally, giving customers a convenient new way to shop without leaving their project or site. It features over 10,000 products – that's more than our biggest store.

2011 - Wickes opens its 200th store. We now have a range of over 10,000 products…

2012 - We add over 2,000 new products, including extended ranges of branded products trusted by the trade such as Stanley, Bosch and Makita.

 

 

Planning for Future Success

40 years and going on...

The opening of new stores in Beverley and Maldon in 2011 took us past the 200 store milestone. It is now 40 years since we opened our first new store.

Our mission to be the strongest brand in the market while offering outstanding value for money has been the cornerstone of our success over the last 40 years. It is the reason why we have been able to consistently expand our store base and thrive even when faced with hardbiting recessions in the 80s and 90s, and the challenging economic climate today.

We take pride in being an innovative multi-channel retailer. Our customers can shop with us in-store, or from their mobile phones and laptops. They can get DIY help & advice from our free good idea leaflets or by viewing our instructional videos online. And they can now interact with us and fellow customers using Facebook, Twitter and other social media.

Since the opening of our first UK store in 1972, Wickes has developed and changed a great deal, but the concept and spirit of our business remains largely unchanged. This is the reason for our continued success to this day, and it will be the reason for our success and achievements in the future.

 

 

For corporate communication or product pr queries please contact:

Vikki.lomas@travisperkins.co.uk
history.jpg

Wickes publications go as far back as the 'Avocado Bathroom' years.

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Our Beverley store, present day.

oldwickes.jpg

The old Wickes store in Harrow, where the retail support centre now stands.