Bunning Warehouse is a household hardware chain in Australia and a very successful one at that. It has been under Wesfarmers ownership since 1994 and has stores in New Zealand as well.
The company was founded in Perth in 1886, and it was formed by two British immigrants. At first, it was a limited company that was focused around sawmilling. In 1952 it became a public company and made its expansion into the retail sector. It bought up many hardware stores and incorporated their inventory, becoming the ‘one-stop’ hardware store it is known as.
In the 1990s Bunnings expanded into other states. In 1994 it opened the first ‘warehouse-style’ store in Melbourne. At its peak, it has achieved around 50% of market share in the DIY hardware market, with the rest being split between competitors and independent stores.
Bunnings was originally head to head with its lead competitors Masters, but Masters lost this race and was forced to close. This is attributed to the fact that Bunnings was better at branding itself as friendly to people who weren’t handy with home improvement and wanted a comfortable way to get into DIY jobs. This is in contrast to Masters, for whom their name implied to would-be customers that it was marketed for experienced tradespeople.
Bunning made hardware accessible to people who knew nothing about it. The stores were staffed with knowledgeable people who could not only guide customers to products but give them free advice on how to use and implement them for different jobs. People knew that they could definitely find what they needed and get help at Bunnings, whereas a competitor could not guarantee this for them.
One of the main things that makes Bunnings an iconic Australian brand is the weekend sausage sizzles it does as part of community engagement. Many people visit Bunnings just for the sausages.