Wesfarmers pulls plug on Bunnings in UK

MILTON KEYNES, U.K. — Australian DIY retailer Wesfarmers has aborted its botched entry into the U.K., selling at a loss its 250 Homebase stores to restructuring firm Hilco. The 24 stores which have already converted into Bunnings outlets will revert to the Homebase banner when the deal is finalized toward the end of June. Hilco, which owns HMV, is reportedly likely to close up to 60 stores. Wesfarmers had planned a £500 million investment to import the popular Bunnings brand, famous in Australia for its “sausage sizzles”, to the U.K. but struggled to hold its own among the intense competition in the British DIY market. The company said it expects to make a £230 million loss on the sale.