Bunnings moves quickly on Masters stores

Bunnings Warehouse.

Bunnings will leave seven of its stores to swoop on sites previously occupied by Masters, as the fallout from Masters’ failed home improvement division continues.

BWP Trust, which owns 80 stores leased to Bunnings across Australia, announced on Friday that Bunnings will vacate seven of those stores in order to take up leases at ex-Masters sites.

The Masters sites will be owned by the Home Consortium, which comprises Aurrum Group, Spotlight Group and Chemist Warehouse, after the group this week finalised deals to acquire more than 80 Masters trading, development and leasehold locations.

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In a statement, BWP says it will explore options for the vacated sites, which could include selling them.

“BWP will review all options to optimise the value of each of the sites in the period to lease expiry including; re-leasing to other occupants, potential redevelopment to establish alternative uses, or divestment,” the statement says.

The actual exit dates for the seven stores will vary, with Bunnings still having more than four years to run on the leases of three of the properties. The other four properties have shorter lease timeframes.

A Bunnings Warehouse in Joondalup, Western Australia, has sold for more than $43 million.

The stores that Bunnings will vacate are yet to be announced.

It is not yet clear which stores Bunnings plans to leave, however earlier this week Wesfarmers, which owns Bunnings, revealed the new sites it leases would come at the expense of smaller stores in need of expansion.

Date set: Woolworths to close Masters stores in December

“Seven of these freehold sites are intended to replace existing older under-scoped Bunnings locations,” the company says.

On Wednesday Woolworths announced it would close all of its Masters stores by December 11, and would sell its embattled home improvement division in deals with $1.5 billion.

As part of the winding up of the operation, rival Metcash will acquire Woolworths’ Home Timber & Hardware business for $165 million and continue to operate those stores.

The Home Consortium’s Masters move includes the purchase of 40 freehold trading sites, 21 freehold development sites and 21 Masters leasehold sites, in a deal that remains subject to consent from parent company Lowe’s Companies.