UK: Kingfisher provides £1m of PPE and funding for health services across Europe

Since the Covid-19 crisis hit Europe, Kingfisher and its businesses in Europe have ringfenced all their remaining stock of personal protective equipment (PPE) so it can be donated to frontline healthcare workers. Already protective eye-wear and masks, worth over £200,000, have been provided to the UK’s National Health Service. Kingfisher also confirms it has ordered a further three million face masks from suppliers in China and Israel, which it expects to arrive towards the end of April. These will be donated to the health authorities in the UK, France, Poland and Romania, or used to equip its colleagues who are facilitating online and click & collect orders in stores.

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UK: Kingfisher publishes unaudited figures

On account of the coronavirus situation, Kingfisher has put back the publication of its sales figures scheduled for 24 March 2020, by two weeks; this was in response to a request by the Financial Conduct Authority addressed to the country’s listed companies. Kingfisher has released unaudited figures, however, indicating that the company’s total sales in fiscal 2019/2020 (ended 31 January 2020) came to £11.513 bn. This equates to a drop of 1.5% from the previous year and 0.8% less in constant currency. The British group achieved a sales increase of 1.0% in Great Britain and Ireland, but only thanks to growth of nearly 10% by Screwfix, as sales at B&Q shrank. In France, Castorama and Brico Dépôt jointly saw their sales fall by 3.2% (both adjusted for currency and for currency and sales area). An increase in sales was recorded in Poland and Romania.

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Ireland: Screwfix plans for 40 stores

Screwfix Sandyford and Swords in Dublin along with a Waterford store all opened last month, with more stores planned for 2020. As part of Screwfix’s expansion plans, there is the potential for the business to open up to 40 stores over the coming years, creating over 400 employment opportunities in Ireland. The vacancies will be available in a variety of areas such as retail management, service assistants and supervisor roles. Each store will stock 10,000 products, from power tools and work wear to heating and electrical with 24,000 products available to order online and over the phone for delivery and collection from store. Screwfix CEO, John Mewett, said: “We’re extremely excited to be launching Screwfix stores in Ireland to help tradespeople get their jobs done quickly, affordably and on time. The creation of bricks and mortar stores in Ireland is a major milestone for us and a direct result of the increasing demand from Irish tradespeople for our fantastic range of products.”

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World: Board of EDRA/GHIN appoints two new members

EDRA/GHIN are delighted to announce the addition of two new board members. Thierry Garnier, CEO of Kingfisher, taking the place of outgoing CEO Véronique Laury. Furthermore the Board have co-opted Jorma Rauhala, Deputy CEO/Pres: Building & Tech Trade Division of Kesko, the largest Scandinavian home improvement company, to their number.

 

France: Kingfisher France appoints Alain Rabec as CEO

Kingfisher plc announced on 27 September the appointment of Alain Rabec as CEO of Kingfisher France, which includes the Castorama and Brico Dépôt businesses. He will be responsible for over 200 stores, 20,000 colleagues and €4.5 bn of sales. He joined Kingfisher on 1 October and will also be a member of Kingfisher’s Group Executive. Mr Rabec is a highly experienced, operational retailer who has spent over 30 years in senior roles at Carrefour, the French retail group, according to Kingfisher. Most recently (2016-2018) he was executive director of Carrefour hypermarkets, where he was responsible for 230 stores with sales of €17 bn. The current CEO of Kingfisher France, Christian Mazauric, will be taking some time out from Kingfisher to recover from an operation. Kingfisher plc CEO Thierry Garnier said: “Christian has led our companies in France, B&Q in the UK and Brico Dépôt in Romania, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank him for his valuable contribution to Kingfisher. I look forward to welcoming him back to Kingfisher in the future.”

 

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UK: Mixed results for Kingfisher

In the UK and Ireland, B&Q total sales dropped 3.3% to £1,773m in H1, impacted by the axing of installation services and declines across showroom and weather-related categories. Kingfisher reported a number of exceptional items for the half year ended 31 July, including a £68m restructuring charge relating to redundancy costs following the group’s plans to close 11 stores in France and 19 Screwfix Germany outlets. The retailer described financial performance in the half as “mixed”. Screwfix, Poland and Romania delivered like-for-like sales growth for the period. However, sales at B&Q and Castorama France, were disappointing, with the retail group attributing declines to “a weak consumer backdrop in the UK and disruption caused by new range implementation”, alongside ongoing transformation-related issues at Castorama France. B&Q like-for-like (LFL) sales declined by 3.2% in H1.

Online was a more positive story, as B&Q’s total digital sales continued to make good progress, with sales growing by 10% and now representing 5% of total sales. The retailer also recorded a £1 million profit in the period on the disposal of properties in the UK.

Screwfix grew total sales by 9.9% (+5.1% LFL) to £882m, driven by specialist trade desks exclusive to plumbers and electricians, strong digital growth of 18% (now accounting for 32% of total sales); and the continued roll out of new outlets. The retailer opened 16 new Screwfix outlets in H1 19/20, taking its estate to 643. The company’s longer-term target is to operate around 800 outlets in the UK, and the business said it remains “on track” to open stores in the Republic of Ireland in the second half of the year in order to complement its existing online presence. Total sales for the Kingfisher Group were down 0.9% in constant currency.

 

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UK: Four new Screwfix outlets

The Kingfisher-owned chain Screwfix is set to open four new branches this month, with three officially opening their doors on 18 July. The new sites are all located in southern England in Wiltshire, Bristol, Kent and Warwickshire. Screwfix has said it is “confident” it has chosen great locations for all of the new sites. Screwfix reported a sales uplift of 9.6% in Q1 with LFL at +4.5% and four new outlets opening in the UK between January and April 2019, adding to its growing network of over 620 stores nationwide. Since then, the business has opened a further two sites, in Linlithgow and Towcester.

 

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UK: New Kingfisher CEO Thierry Garnier

Véronique Laury’s successor at the helm of Kingfisher is Thierry Garnier. The Frenchman is switching from the French retail group Carrefour. Garnier will be appointed to the board as an executive director and will take over the position of Chief Executive Officer from Laury, who will step down by the end of September 2019. The future Kingfisher boss, who was honoured by the French state as Chevalier de l’Ordre national de la Légion d’Honneur, is currently a member of the Carrefour Group Executive Committee and the Chief Executive Officer of Carrefour Asia, where he is responsible for over 350 stores in China and Taiwan, with 55,000 employees, and gross sales of over €6 bn.

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UK: Change at the top for Kingfisher

Owner of DIY giant B&Q, and Screwfix, Kingfisher plc confirms CEO Véronique Laury will step down from her position and the Board will ensure an “orderly transition”. A departure date has not yet been decided, but the succession process has commenced immediately, the group has said.

Véronique Laury commented: “I have enjoyed leading the ONE Kingfisher team through the transformation to become the leading home improvement company. We have a strong purpose to create good homes by making home improvement accessible for everyone. I have always been passionate about this and still am. I would like to thank all our colleagues for their hard work and great achievements. Leading the transformation has been so exciting but also very challenging. As the transformation approaches its final year, I believe it is right for someone else to lead the next phase of the ONE Kingfisher journey. I will continue to give 100% until the day I depart.”

Andy Cosslett, Chairman, commented: “Vero has been a powerful leader of the business and the driving force behind our plan to turn Kingfisher into a more unified and innovative business. This year will mark a transition in our transformation journey having now reached a critical mass… Vero has brought great vision to the business and I would like to take this opportunity to thank her for all of her hard work and passion, and for her ongoing commitment to transforming Kingfisher into a business with a stronger foundation for sustainable growth.”

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