Masters NEW MEGA STORE
- Ballarat Road
- Braybrook, Victoria (Opening September/October 2011)
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On Monday 2 May 2011, 15:18 EST
Woolworths, together with its joint venture partner Lowe's Companies Inc of the US, said the first Masters store would open in September or October at Braybrook, in Melbourne.
The Masters stores will go head to head with the Wesfarmers Ltd-owned Bunnings hardware chain, the current market leader in the country's home improvement market.
Masters chief executive Don Stallings said the home improvement business was ready for a new name.
"With just a few months to go until opening, we're putting the finishing touches to our plans," he said in a statement on Monday.
"In years to come, we believe this brand will become a very familiar one for Australian DIY'ers so it was important to choose a strong and simple name that will stand the test of time."
Bunnings contributed $3.57 billion in revenue to Wesfarmers in the six months to December, equivalent to 12 per cent of the company's total revenue and the second biggest division after Coles.
But underscoring the profitability of hardware, earnings at Bunnings came to $457 million, almost a quarter of Wesfarmers' total earnings.
Mr Stallings, who was formerly the head of Canadian operations for Lowe's, said in September he planned to drive down costs by using Lowe's global sourcing unit to supply imported products at lower cost.
Woolworths and Lowe's, the world's second biggest home improvement retailer, acquired Australian hardware distributor Danks Holdings Ltd in 2009 as the companies prepared to take on Bunnings.
Masters' range of products will include lighting, paint, flooring, kitchens, outdoor furniture, appliances, gardens, walls and windows, power tools, storage, plumbing and bathrooms.
Many products are not currently available in a single location in the Australian market.
Mr Stallings said staff would be trained for at least 100 hours, there would be more than 35,000 products and stores would be air conditioned and comfortable to differentiate Masters from many competitors.
The Masters store at Braybrook, which will include a separate trade-only area, will be followed quickly by a number of other stores in Victoria and Queensland.
Masters was on track to achieve the initial target of 150 property sites in five years.
The Masters brand was developed by Hulsbosch, which developed the Woolworths rebrand.