On the face of it, there is little to connect the oriental art of Feng Shui with the world of hammers, power drills and paint. But the ancient Chinese philosophy, which involves changing the design of your living or working space to improve your fortune, is proving to be a big hit in the world of ‘Do-It-Yourself stores, where people go to buy building materials and tools. Two vast new DIY superstores have been designed in the UK following Feng Shui guidelines, and their business is booming. Both store managers maintain their success is due to the positive energy that has been channelled into their shops by Feng Shui experts, who were called in for advice before the final decisions were made about the design of the new buildings. ‘I first encountered Feng Shui when I went to the opening of our company’s first store in Taiwan. Everyone there takes it so seriously you cannot fail to be impressed,’ said David Ingliss, store manager. Mr Ingliss’s hosts in Taiwan told him of the Hong Kong millionaire who relocated his business empire into a new skyscraper. However, soon after the move, the business began to go down. In desperation the businessman called in the Feng Shui experts, who said that because his new office block was round, it was like a huge cigarette, and all the energy was burning off through the roof. They said the only thing he could do was to build a swimming pool on the roof, which he did. And to this day there is an office block in Hong Kong with a swimming pool 40 floors up which no one ever uses, but there is a successful company underneath it. ‘Some people may think Feng Shui is just mystical rubbish and I must admit there is a superstitious element to it,’ said Mr Ingliss. ‘But much of it is just common sense and has a direct relevance to good selling. Experts believe that things should not be messy and crowded together — it interrupts the flow of positive energy — so we made a policy of keeping the aisles between the shelves wide, clear and welcoming, and generally followed the Feng Shui principles for positioning various departments and activities.’ Mr Ingliss’s store, with a floor area greater than two football pitches, has been described locally as a DIY Disneyland, which he takes as a great compliment. And it has also been one of the most successful in its first year of any of the chain of stores. Jon Dorsett, manager of a sister store, also sticks to the policy of wide, uncluttered aisles and even goes so far as to order all restocking work to be done outside opening hours. ‘We paid close attention to advice on colour, lighting and especially on the distribution of indoor plants,’ said Mr Dorsett. ‘We trained them to grow around the entrance to the garden centre and installed wind chimes. Wind chimes by doors help weaken negative energy and bring in positive opportunity. The department is now among the top five in the company.’ ‘I’m not sure that I believe in the magical side to it, but I did move a mirror at home that was facing the front door – that is very unlucky apparently – and it actually just looks better in its new place,’ said Mr Dorsett not being chuffed.