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Barratt Developments PLC ( ) is one of the largest residential property development companies in the United Kingdommarker. It was founded in 1958 by Sir Lawrie Barratt and was originally based in Newcastle upon Tynemarker but is now located at David Wilson's former offices in Coalvillemarker. It has been listed on the London Stock Exchange since 1968 and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.

History

The company was founded by Sir Lawrie Barratt in 1958 in Newcastle upon Tynemarker, initially concentrating on building homes for first–time buyers. The company diversified into building a wide range of houses in the 1980’s.

Barratt was for a long time considered the UK’s leading house builder. It was well–known within the construction industry for growing organically, i.e. through increased land purchases as opposed to large acquisitions.

In 1991 the Company was badly hit by a recession and recalled Lawrie Barratt from retirement: he retired for good in 1997 and remains Life President of the Company.

In 2004 the Company sold Barratt American, its USmarker operation, established in the 1980's in Californiamarker.

Mark Clare was appointed Chief Executive in succession to David Pretty in 2006.

Following the house price boom in the later 1990’s and early 2000’s, which saw a number of Barratt’s largest rivals, such as Persimmon, George Wimpey and Taylor Woodrow all acquire rivals to increases in size, Barratt broke its tradition of 30 years and acquired Wilson Bowden, best known for its David Wilson Homes brand, for £2.7bn in 2007. This brought the David Wilson, Ward Homes and Wilson Bowden Developments brands to the group.

In 2008 the Company secured a restructuring of its banking covenant package.

Operations

UK house building

Margaret Thatcher famously purchased a house on one of Barratt's most up market estates, in Dulwichmarker, South Londonmarker, to use as a retirement home, though she has actually spent much of her retirement in a home in the central London district of Belgraviamarker. This also proved to be an embarrassment for one of Barratt’s arch rivals, Taylor Woodrow, whose founder, Frank Taylor, was Margaret Thatcher’s friend and who gave political donations to the Conservative Party during her reign.

Barratt also used to have a self – created upmarket brand, KingsOak Homes but now uses the David Wilson Homes brand for this purpose.

Commercial construction

Barratt owns and operates Wilson Bowden Developments, which develops commercial property in the UK.

Tree logo

For several years, Barratt Homes has used an oak tree as its logo, and there have been at least three versions of it.

For a long time the company also used the slogan ‘Britain’s Premier House Builder’. The reasons for this is that Barratt is widely regarded as Britain’s best-known house builder amongst the general public, and some people still view Barratt Homes, along with George Wimpey, as the two large, mass–volume house builders in the UK.

Following the acquisition of Wilson Bowden in 2007, the Management decided to give the Barratt corporate identity a facelift. The same logo used by Barratt Developments PLC for corporate purposes and Barratt Homes for marketing purposes was scrapped, and the there are now two, slightly different logos for the two purposes, although they both still feature a tree.

In addition, the Barratt Homes slogan was changed to ‘built around you’, emphasising that for the previous fifty years, customer feedback had gone back into the building process to improve house building. The relaunch included a massive TV and newspaper advertising campaign.

References

  1. Execs buy US unit of Barratt Developers
  2. British Gas director moves to Barratt
  3. Fit for the King
  4. Wilson Bowden Developments in a potential sale
  5. 'Built around you'


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