Homebase, which opened its first DIY store in 1981, now has 272 outlets across the UK that sell everything from kitchen tiles and house plants to power drills and paint. The Croydon-based company claims to serve over 1.5m customers a week, with sales of £1.4bn in 2002, when it had 16,800 staff and reported an operating profit of £42m. Sainsbury’s owned Homebase until December 2000 when the supermarket sold 82% of the company for £750m to Permira.
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