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B&Q considering radical changes to leverage store space

The move comes as the retailer continues to rightsize its 360 store portfolio.

Ian Cheshire, chief executive of B&Q parent company Kingfisher, said: “We might do something more radical and take smaller businesses which need space and bring them into the business a bit like [Tesco boss] Phil Clarke is doing with Giraffe. We haven’t got a deal to unveil but we encourage the team to think radically.”

Cheshire referred to the potential of doing joint ventures with other companies. He said: “What I would have loved to do maybe seven to 10 years ago rather than now is to persuade [homewares retailer] Bed Bath & Beyond to come to the UK, but Dunelm have filled that gap.”

B&Q has signed 18 agreements with supermarkets to offload some store space. If all 18 store deals get planning approval, the retailer will have cut its UK space by 5%, saving £16m annually in rents and £7m in rates.

Cheshire said that B&Q could maintain the same sales with 20% less space.

Kingfisher UK and Ireland retail profit dipped 1.4% to £143m in its first half to August 3 as adjusted pre-tax profits across the group fell 1.6% to £365m. UK and Ireland like-for-likes dipped 1%.

Across the group, Kingfisher’s adjusted pre-tax profits fell 1.6% to £365m as like-for-likes dipped 0.8%.

The DIY group is expanding its tradesman-focused fascia Screwfix to Germany with a four store trial next summer. Cheshire said that there was potential to expand Screwfix further and said France was “an obvious choice”.

Source: Retail Week

11 September 2013
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