As an expert on DIY and the wider construction industry and with engaging communication skills, Craig was in great demand from the media on Tuesday 31st March when it emerged that Kingfisher, the owner of both the B&Q and Screwfix brands, are set to close 60 of its 360 B&Q stores across Britain and the Republic of Ireland over the course of the next two years.
Craig was asked to comment on the development as it was also announced that the group hope to neutralise the impact on jobs by opening 60 Screwfix stores in 2015, a move which many see as indicative of a broader trend in which consumers are seen as less inclined to undertake home improvements themselves, preferring to bring in qualified tradespeople instead.
Craig took to the BBC Radio 5Live airwaves, speaking to Dan Walker and Sarah Brett on the station’s Afternoon Edition show, before appearing on both Sky News and Channel 4 News later in the day. He broadly agrees that people are increasingly using tradespeople but put a little more flesh on the bones of the idea.
He believes people are comparatively time-poor these days due to increased work and family pressures, but he also sees much greater scope for distraction from technologies that include social media and digital entertainment, such as the PlayStation and Xbox. For Craig, kids and young people are less likely to spend time working on home improvement projects with their parents nowadays and subsequently lose out on the opportunity to learn DIY skills from an early age - and, indeed, the confidence that can bring.
Kingfisher’s move mirrors that of Homebase, who announced in October that they plan to close 25% of their UK stores. Their Screwfix stores deal with tradespeople to a larger extent than B&Q and have a business model involving fewer staff and display costs than those of traditional DIY stores, who tend to focus on customer service and the deployment in-store of knowledgeable retail staff.