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Kingfisher to create 1,200 jobs as profits rise

Kingfisher Group, the owner of DIY retailers B&Q and Screwfix, has reported that pre-tax profits rose 24% to £439 million in the six months to the 31 July, up from £354 million in the same period last year. Sales rose to £5.66 billion from £5.45 billion.

The group also announced that it will create 1,200 jobs across its B&Q and Screwfix brands and open 80 new stores during 2012.

Kingfisher said the expansion would bring its total investment in the UK this year to £130 million, nearly four times the level of the previous year. The expansion programme will be nationwide and supported by Screwfix's headquarters in Yeovil, Somerset, where the company employs 750 staff.

Ian Cheshire, Kingfisher's group chief executive, said: "We are backing Britain, investing to grow our B&Q and Screwfix businesses in the UK, creating jobs and supporting local communities. We have the balance sheet strength and financial flexibility to do this.”

Kingfisher said that although the domestic economic forecast was uncertain, the investment demonstrated its confidence in the UK's longer-term growth prospects.

Cheshire continued: "Looking ahead, economic uncertainty throughout Europe is likely to impact consumer confidence, meaning conditions will remain challenging for retailers.

"However, our plans already assumed little help from our markets and I am confident we will continue to outperform, benefiting from our well-established program of self-help initiatives, international scale and breadth, and robust balance sheet."

Kingfisher is also expanding internationally and earlier this week announced plans to invest £115 million opening nine new stores in Russia during the next two years.

Source: The Retail Bulletin

15 September 2011
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