They survive on customers who are at work while the builders providers are open, or who want to browse products on display or don't feel comfortable asking in a builders providers. There's also the convenience factor of everything under one roof. But yeah, you pay dearly for it.
A lot of the builders providers were less than welcoming to DIYers during the boom, skipping customers to deal with the builders they knew. They had little time for anyone who wanted help. Some of these businesses have gone under now, and the ones that remain, that I have experience of at least, are a little more welcoming.
I have to say that I never found that to be true,I found that my money was just as much wanted in the 3 local builders suppliers.I was allways treated like I was just as important as the builder who would be ordering a few thousands blocks or pallets of skimcoat.
Allmost all builders providers open on Saturdays from 8am till 1 pm and some open till 5pm on a Saturday nowadays.
I will admit that I use BnQ every now and again (on a Sunday) if I really need something urgently,and I use my BnQ trade card too.
But I will never shop in Woodies as they are a joke for so many reasons mentioned on page 1 of this thread.Their staff training is terrible and they have a serious lack of staff who can actually give clear and correct advice when a customer asks for advice.
I just prefer to deal with the various builders providers as they know what they are talking about and you get a better price when compared to Woodies.