Kingfisher to close 60 B&Q stores in the UK
The closures will represent 15% of the chain’s space in the UK and will result in around £350 million in exceptional costs.
Laury said in a statement: “We have a lot to do and we are announcing today a set of first ‘sharp’ decisions which are already underway including the closure of around 15% surplus B&Q space (c.60 stores) and our few loss making stores in Europe, the development of unified garden and bathroom businesses and the start of a Big Box revitalisation programme across Europe.
“In addition, we will be developing our detailed plans for the wider reorganisation of the company as we progress on this exciting journey towards becoming ‘ONE’ Kingfisher.”
The news comes as Kingfisher reported that adjusted pre-tax profit fell by 7.5% to £675 million in the year to 31 January. Profit was impacted by a slower market in France since summer 2014, £34 million of adverse foreign exchange movements and £22 million in charges for new country development activity. Total sales rose by 2.9%.
Meanwhile, B&Q UK & Ireland’s total sales were up 1.9% to £3,765 million and rose by 1.4% on a like-for-like basis as the retailer benefited from better weather year-on-year, a stronger UK economy and more buoyant housing construction. Sales of outdoor seasonal and building products were up 4% while sales of indoor products, excluding showroom, rose by 2%. Sales of showroom products were down 5% driven by a decision to reduce promotional activity.
During the year B&Q reduced prices on around 5,000 products to help improve price perception and increase sales volumes. It also launched ‘Click, Pay & Collect’ on over 14,000 products.
Total sales at Kingfisher’s Screwfix chain surged by 25.5% to £835 million and by 13.4% on a like-for-like basis. The performance was driven by new ranges, a strong promotional programme and the continued roll out of new outlets, complimented by further digital and mobile development. Some 60 net new outlets were opened, taking the total to 395.
Kingfisher has also announced changes to its leadership team as it looks to drive through changes in the business.
This will include Arja Taaveniku joining the group in early May as chief offer & supply chain officer. Since 2012 Taaveniku has been chief executive of the Ikano Group and previously spent 22 years at IKEA working in a number of senior roles.
The group is also appointing three operations directors by format.
Guy Colleau, currently chief executive, group sourcing & offer and the former chief executive of Castorama France, will become operations director for Big Box (B&Q, Castorama, Koçtaş) while Alain Souillard, currently chief executive for Brico Dépôt International, will become operations director for Medium Box (Brico Dépôt). Steve Willett, currently chief executive, group productivity & development, will become omnichannel operations director for Screwfix and will also take on the role of chief digital & IT officer.
The new operating company chief executives will report into Kingfisher’s operations directors.
In a separate announcement Kingfisher said Kevin O’Byrne, chief executive of B&Q in the UK & Ireland, will be leaving the business in May.
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