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Bunnings car parks as vaccine hubs?

A clone of Bunnings Warehouse outlets has been identified in the Philippines and a Bunnings store in Sydney sold to Newmark Capital

Bunnings recently offered the use of its car parks as mass vaccination hubs if the federal government requested assistance, according to a report in The Guardian Australia. Bunnings' chief operating officer, Deb Poole, said:

We've previously supported the government and the community by hosting COVID-19 testing in some of our store car parks and we're always open to discussing further support directly with the government.

Using Bunnings car parks to vaccinate Australians en masse has the support of a few leading epidemiologists. Hassan Vally, an associate professor in public health and an epidemiologist with La Trobe University in Melbourne, said hosting mass vaccination centres in Bunnings car parks could provide a "nudge" to large sections of the population who would visit the stores and see jabs being administered. Mr Vally told The Guardian:

Everyone in the population seems to end up at Bunnings with some frequency ...they're convenient for people to get to. Most people haven't seen a vaccination occur in person, so if you're going into a Bunnings a few times and you keep passing the vaccinations, then the next time you're on your way out with your potting mix, you'll go up and ask.

Mr Vally also noted the "credibility heuristic" - a rule of thumb concerning vaccine hesitancy where epidemiologists observe "we trust people we can relate to - people in our social network". Bunnings has been rated as Australia's most trusted brand, based on research by Roy Morgan.

Mr Vally said religious and community leaders were best placed to address vaccine hesitancy but Bunnings stores would have an advantage when it came to promoting COVID vaccination.

If people go to Bunnings and can get their sausage sandwich after their vaccine on the way out, that's a good thing.

Prof Catherine Bennett, chair of epidemiology at Deakin University, said once Australia's vaccine supplies significantly increased using Bunnings car parks could help "normalise the vaccination process".

She pointed out that mass vaccination hubs identified by state governments so far were mostly in city centres and Bunnings' suburban locations would make logistical sense when rolling out Pfizer vaccines en masse later in the year.

That's because one way of avoiding wastage once multi-dose vials are open, is to offer the vaccine to anyone nearby who can quickly come in for a jab. Prof Bennett said:

For testing, Bunnings car parks worked really, as people could get tested in their cars. [It's] an identifiable site, it's got the space and can be adapted for this.

She said a sterile environment and waiting area would need to be cordoned off to administer jabs and provide recipients an area to wait the required 15 minutes following their injection.

Prof Bennett also said such a vaccination site would work best if it used a combination of bookings and walk-in appointments to avoid vaccine wastage.

Bunnings is an identifiable site, it's got the space and can be adapted for this. People are comfortable there and this type of plan would leverage Bunnings' presence in the community.

A number of Bunnings stores hosted testing clinics in carparks in the early weeks of the pandemic. National Australia Bank and the Business Council of Australia is also offering to help speed up the vaccine rollout and reopen the economy.

Related: In 2020, Bunnings car parks in Victoria were an option where people could

get tested for coronavirus.

Contactless service at 250 Bunnings stores - HI News 6.2, page 28

Philippines version of Bunnings

Philippines-based Builders Warehouse is a close clone to Bunnings using its familiar red and green branding as well as the hammer icon but with a different tagline, "You build. We provide".

A direct comparison of the two types of stores was made by PEDESTRIAN.TV, a youth-focused online news and entertainment website.

Builders Warehouse has far fewer stores in its network than Bunnings with five locations in Dau, Mabalacat, Pampanga, Malolos and Bulacan in the Philippines. In addition to selling hardware and building products, the stores also offer groceries.

According to its website, Builders Warehouse was established in 2018 by the Racal Group of Companies with the "aim to be a purveyor of top quality yet economical products and services". It also says:

Builders Warehouse aspire to be a competent, well-founded home building institution by putting its employees under constant training to ratify professionalism, furnish every home with its trusted local and global brand suppliers, deliver remarkable services to its customer and trade partners, and above all, maintain a harmonious relationship with its company employees by creating a healthy corporate working environment.

For more information, visit the website in the following link:

Our Builders Warehouse, the Philippines answer to Bunnings

The Racal Group of Companies also owns My Home Depot in the Philippines but has little resemblance to US hardware retail giant Home Depot event though it sells similar products.

Bunnings Eastgardens sold

The $75 million Bunnings store located in Eastgardens, about 9km south of the Sydney central business district, has been purchased by fund manager Newmark Capital.

It has been added to its portfolio of hardware stores, Newmark Hardware Trust, according to The Australian Financial Review (AFR). The acquisition of the Eastgardens Bunnings on 4.14% initial yield follows its deal in February to acquire a Bunnings outlet under construction in Preston (VIC) for $85 million.

The Eastgardens site spans 2.3 hectares. The Bunnings store, comprising 14,920sqm, began trading in mid-2017. It was developed by Bunnings and then sold ahead of its opening in 2015 to a private investor. The property serves a large catchment area in Sydney's east, including nearby suburbs of Maroubra, Pagewood and Botany.

  • Sources: The Guardian Australia, PEDESTRIAN.TV and The Australian Financial Review
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