Leroy Merlin If you only have un marteau, every problem looks like un ongle.
Among the headaches Massmart and SPAR didn’t think they would be facing this time last year, would be the arrival in South Africa of an eccentrically named French purveyor of home improvement materials. And yet, here we are. Leroy Merlin – the third largest retailer in the world – has just set up shop in Stoneridge Centre, Edenvale, Gauteng, with 17,500m2 of floor space, every department you can imagine from plumbing to lighting, a large selection of brands imported from Europe and – get this – a Mugg and Freaking Bean. And something called a Workshop Fan Group of likeminded handy people who get together every month to chat about how much they enjoy changing lightbulbs and installing cat-flaps. This group was established some 15 months ago as part of the advance brand-building operation, and sounds millennial as all get out to us. And as if all this isn’t enough, they’re pioneering a type of business they’re calling “phygital”, which…actually we can’t.
Comment: We just can’t. But: it sounds like an impressive operation that will appeal to those weekend warriors who pride themselves on a certain je ne sais quoi.