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The biggest box of all


The biggest box of all
A local company called Epicentr K has opened the world’s biggest DIY superstore in Ukraine, the second largest country in Europe.

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“If you want to see the biggest DIY superstore in the world, you don’t go to the USA. You don’t go to Germany. You go to Ukraine.” John W. Herbert should know: as executive director of Edra, the European DIY Retail Association, and previously vice president at global market leader Home Depot, among other positions, he certainly is in a position to make comparisons. And he was there for the opening of what is in fact the world’s biggest box: in Kiev, where EpicentrK, a local company, opened its sixth store in the Ukrainian capital and its 23rd DIY outlet in the country as a whole.

Although Mr Herbert was awelcome guest whose advice isvalued by the Ukrainian DIY world,he was by no means the most prominentparticipant at the openingin mid-December. When it comesto such dimensions the blessinghas to come, if not from the verytop (though there was a priest ofthe Ukrainian Orthodox church in attendance), at least from pretty high up: President Victor Yushchenko himself (at the time in the middle of a presidential election campaign – the result hadn’t been declared before going to press) cut the red ribbon at the end of a patriotically coloured speech. If “big box” ever was appropriate as an expression, it definitely is when applied to this new DIY superstore. It has two stories and, at 314 m long and 96 m wide, expanded to 132 m where the garden centre docks on, adds up to a sales area of 48 782 m² (weighted; total area about 56 000 m²); about 14 500 m² of the total is taken up by the covered garden area. There are 74 tills to avoid waiting time at the checkout. Staff working here total around 1 300. The parking area is big enough for 2 500 cars.
About 14 800 customers were counted on the first sales day, a Saturday. They found an almost complete range of products that would do credit to any other DIY store in any other country, in terms of both breadth and depth.

The first impression is of goods stretching right up to the roof. The second is that everything is there– everything possible. The assortment ranges from building materials and structural elements tomachines (even compressors andwelding units etc, for professionals) and plumbing installations, plus pets and garden (with plants fromthe Netherlands: the transport takes three days and is more expensivethan the plants themselves). [...]