Kingfisher eyes more acquisitions

B&Q owner Kingfisher said it planned to step up its expansion today after delivering higher profits in the teeth of the economic downturn.

B&Q owner Kingfisher said it planned to step up its expansion today after delivering higher profits in the teeth of the economic downturn.

The group has 856 stores but believes there is potential for more than 1,100 outlets over the long term, including more stores in Russia and China.

Chief executive Ian Cheshire said he was encouraged by a 22.5% rise in pre-tax profits to £670m (€771.17m) in the year to January 29, despite sales remaining at £10.5bn (€12.08bn) and a 3% drop in like-for-like sales in the UK and Ireland.

"Looking ahead, although I see no let up in the challenging environment in the short-term, I am excited by our future prospects," he added.

Despite the sales squeeze, B&Q rebuilt its UK profit margin to 5.6% from 3.2% a year earlier and is on track to achieve its 7% target, Kingfisher said.

It has targeted more of the building supplies market after introducing TradePoint across all its B&Q stores, a move which helped sales to the trade sector jump to £828m (€953.05m) in the year from £700m (€805.7m) a year earlier.

Other recent changes have included store revamps covering around 60% of its portfolio, the roll-out of self-service checkouts and the introduction of reserve and collect for internet customers.

B&Q's total sales fell 2.8% to £3.9bn (€4.5bn), which Kingfisher said partly reflected its decision to limit the use of general, store-wide promotions. It saw strong demand for new kitchen ranges, particularly in the second half.

The company has 492 stores in the UK and Ireland - 330 B&Q and 162 under its Screwfix brand - plus 203 in France trading as Castorama and Brico Depot.

A further 161 outlets are located in Poland, China, Spain, Russia and Turkey but Kingfisher said it hoped to double this figure over the long-term.

It is also eyeing an estate of 550 stores in the UK and Ireland, where it currently employs around 26,500 full-time staff.

More in this section

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day.

Lunchtime
News Wrap

A lunchtime summary of content highlights on the Irish Examiner website. Delivered at 1pm each day.

Sign up
Revoiced
Newsletter

Our Covid-free newsletter brings together some of the best bits from irishexaminer.com, as chosen by our editor, direct to your inbox every Monday.

Sign up