A predictable outcome

If I was a Woolworths shareholder, I would have been more than a little annoyed at their somewhat questionable strategy of going head to head with Bunnings.

I’ve spoken about it a few times, such as

Rockem Sockem
Thought it was a stupid strategy, and today’s news is clear evidence why.

Guess we will watch this space, but it isn’t good from a competition perspective, or challenging Bunnings customer service.

Going…….going………and soon will be gone


Update: I wonder what this is going to mean for Triton, seeing as they finally had just managed to negotiate their way back into a large box hardware store (and Bunnings historically have not wanted to take them on again after the GMC saga)?  901 tools (aka the old GMC) that was being sold again in Masters will be without a home too, and I am sure that will be true for many products.  Not always a bad thing in the case of some brands.

Wonder if there will be a  (very large) garage sale on the horizon?

The B-M Wars – World’s Smallest

A year or so ago, I wrote about the Bunnings-Masters battle that was heating up, with stores being co-located in a decidedly provoking manner (and equally pointless where it comes to community benefit of store-type availability). It would be no different to Burger King and Hungry Jacks stores being placed alongside each other – both have the same menu, same recipe, same prices.

It continues, in an interesting direction. A few years back, I blogged about “The World’s Smallest Bunnings”, about a store I came across in Sydney. Well, there’s now a smaller one. In the Carrum Downs shopping centre, a Bunnings Outdoor was set up, obviously to draw attention away from the local (massive) Masters. I had a look around, and it was pretty spartan.

However, in the meantime, they have received so many queries, that Bunnings have chosen to turn that store into a fully fledged Bunnings store. And I must say, the result is impressive!

It has a tiny floorplate in comparison to a normal Bunnings or Masters, but the product range is incredible. They claim to have about 90% of the range of a normal Bunnings- don’t know if that is quite legit, but what they have, how they have fitted it all in is worth a gander.

There is talk they may build a ‘normal’ Bunnings in the vicinity of the current Masters. Personally, I would be disappointed. For better or worse, Masters is already there, and it is of no benefit to the community for another identical store. This current mini-me Bunnings can definitely stay. It is a useful location (walking distance from the local supermarket, and the carpark), carries a great range in spite of its size, and is a point of difference to the Masters.

I know that opinion won’t matter to Bunnings- it is world domination or nothing, but this is a pretty cool model too, and reminds me more of the local hardware shops of my youth, before the monstrosities became the norm and drove the little hardware stores to extinction.

Master Lowes

While down in Mornington last weekend, I spotted one of the new Masters stores (Lowes in the US)


Couldn’t resist a bit of a look around. This won’t be news for everyone, some have obviously had an opportunity to shop there already. Some of us haven’t!


Racks and racks of tools. A bit of range: 909, xtreme, Hitachi, Panasonic, Bosch, Worx. Some interesting relationships right there. 909 is pretty much identical to old GMC tools, same mouldings, same everything, different name. Xtreme according to one of the staff is the budget range from Worx. Now Worx is owned by Positec, who also own Rockwell, and Rockwell is the budget version (in Australia). Worx Pro is the premium range (and is called Rockwell in overseas stores). So where does Xtreme fit in? Confused? Me too.


A whole wall of Sonicrafters. Back to my discussion: another tool I saw is called the iDrill. In white or black. Rather Apple-like. But it is a drill people! Had a quick look at it, and took the battery out. Now that is interesting- a very familiar battery shape. Looks the same as my Rockwell Li-Ion range of tools. Wonder if that is a Positec tool as well?


One or two Dremels (& accessories)

A whole wall of extension cords


And good to see I can get some reasonable Bessey clamps from more than one source down under.


It was really interesting to see some very familiar GMC tools again, now under a 909 brand. The relatively low cost (at the time) GMC thicknesser really opened some interesting new woodworking doors for me back in its time.


And yet another version of the Triton Superjaws. Boy did GMC really stuff up not maintaining that international patent.


There were shopping trolleys that looked like racecars, motorised scooters for those tired of walking, but I really found interesting was this rack of plastic. Wrap your project for transportation, line your boot. All really simple, neat touches.

Interesting times!

Sydney Checklist

Did a bit of the tourist thing in my latest trip to Sydney.  While I was in the Navy, Sydney was almost a second home, so it was interesting treating it as a first-time visit.

Opera House @ night (handheld camera)

Bondi Beach

World's Smallest Bunnings

A cool fast-food place based around crepes Xquisito @ Chatswood

Visiting Carbatec Sydney

Ferry on the Harbour

City from the Ferry

My old stoming ground - Garden Island East

Climbing Sydney Harbour Bridge (w FIL)

Smallest Bunnings Ever

Was driving around Sydney (another short trip recently), and unlike Melbourne where there seems to be a mega-sized Bunnings every second intersection, I only saw 1 Bunnings store, and it was the smallest I have ever seen.  Not a massive building in the middle of a huge carpark, but a small shopfront on a busy street, no parking (don’t think there is any real parking in Sydney).

Standing outside the smallest Bunnings I've ever seen!

Just how small is it?


Garden Supplies Section

Plant Section - Choices Choices!

Speaking of parking, we headed down to see the Opera House one evening, and used a carpark that advertised 1 hour for $9 – oh well, expensive but bearable.  When we left the carpark after 40 minutes – $32!  Apparently there was fine print at the bottom that said there was a fixed rate after 5pm.

Opera House

There is a theory that there are more cars in Sydney than parks, so you have to have a certain percentage of cars always on the road, or rather no matter what happens there will always be a percentage driving around looking for a non-existent park!

If it’s Pretty in Pink…

A winner in (Telecom) Gold, what is it in Ryobi Blue?

Thanks to Sparhawk for the pics- can’t believe how wrong the SuperJaws looks in blue, and particularly how irksome seeing the traditional Superjaws logo on a non Triton branded box.

Bet Ryobi, and Bunnings are laughing long and hard at Triton & GMC, finally scoring the best tool Triton ever produced (although I’m not a big fan of the Chinese manufactured version).

It is interesting reading some American user reviews and opinions of the JawHorse- some really don’t “get it”. At least one went on and on how unstable a 3 legged one would be- how much more stable a 4 leg one would be (I still think they are under the misconception that a Superjaws or Jawhorse is some form of sawhorse).

Bunnings Redefines “Hardware”

Bunnings appears to be diluting its placement as a hardware store, with the potential inclusion of whitegoods, such a fridges into its product range.

The question is, with the store currently fully stocked with goods, and the physical dimensions of the store being fixed, what is going to be lost to accommodate less and less applicable product lines?  My guess would be there will be a continual decline in the variety of products, resulting in less choice and more “this is the brand/model everyone is expected to buy”.  This inevitably leads to “Ryobi is the only brand of power tools you can choose” etc.

Perhaps I am being overly harsh, but after fridges and other whitegoods move in, what’s next?  Do we (as shed dwellers) need a list of suppliers where we can still buy real hardware, consumables and tools, so we still have the variety of choice of brands that we deserve?  It may result in having to use a little more petrol going from location to location, but I’m sure we can fill up at a Bunnings Petrol Station when they again diversify into another non-hardware related marketplace.

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