By Patrick Avenell

SYDNEY, NSW: The changing demography of Australia is resulting in more people becoming interested in home improvement – and the retailers of choice for these consumers are consumer electrical stores, according to Husqvarna general manager, Dan Carman.

Carman also said that with Woolworths’ acquisition of the Danks Group of stores, the dedicated DIY retails industry is set to become more competitive.

One of the positive sides of the global financial crisis, for Husqvarna, is that it has led to more people putting off travel and outbound activities, leaving them to focus more on, and invest more in, improving their home.

There is a confluence of this phenomenon with the baby boomers retiring, meaning that an avid and interested consumer group is actively spending more time at home. Interestingly, Carman said these consumers were more comfortable shopping at CE stores, such as Harvey Norman or Retravision.

“The home improvement market is expanding rapidly. A lot of people aren’t going overseas any more, and they are spending more time at home: doing the garden, for example,” said Carman. “The baby boomers are leaving the workforce and retiring, and they are spending more of an effort on their homes, and they prefer lightweight convenient products.

“A lot of this demographic don’t shop in hardware specialist areas – they shop at CE retailers.”

Carman said Husqvarna brands and products are currently sold through Harvey Norman, RT Edwards, some Retravision stores, amongst other CE retailers. He said this shift in the Australian landscape could provide a boon for retailers well-placed to capitalise.

In other news, Carman said a new era in large format home improvement retailing is emerging, with Woolworths buying out the Home Hardware chain and Metcash (IGA) buying into Mitre 10. He said these new ventures would provide more competition to Bunnings.

“There’s going to be a lot more competition. Bunnings currently dominates with an incredibly strong offer, but more home improvement players will offer greater choice,” he said.