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Kingfisher CEO expected to address size of store network

B&Q Durham

As new Kingfisher chief executive Véronique Laury prepares to post full-year figures in just over a month’s time, the pressure is on.

The retailer’s share price has climbed in recent months but is well down on its 12-month high of 446.7p.

And it took a knock last week on the back of a bearish note from Barclays (see

The broker cut its recommendation from equal to underweight, and frets over problems ranging from the rise of new competitors such as bargain store group B&M in the UK to the impact of a depreciating zloty on Polish consumer spending.

Barclays argued that B&Q store closures are needed to maintain margins. While B&Q’s space has increased by 21% over the last 10 years, sales per sq ft have slid by 22%.

The broker reckons space must be brought down by at least 10% and expects the issue to feature among the top items on Laury’s to do list.

Despite its bearishness, Barclays observed that “the strategy update could be transformational”. If so, there is upside potential.

As Laury prepares for her big City debut, much will ride on how compelling her vision for Kingfisher is as DIY shopping habits and the role of bricks-and-mortar stores change.

Source : George MacDonald - Retail Week

26 February 2015

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