‘No quick fix’ for B&Q as owner struggles with transformation

Sales at B&Q dropped almost 3% during the three months to the end of October but its owner said it was “making progress” with its massive turnaround strategy.

Kingfisher said it would exit Russia, Spain and Portugal to focus on its “main markets”, where the business has reached, or can reach, a market-leading position, and “create good homes by making home improvement accessible for everyone.”

“Transformation on this scale is tough and we are operating in a difficult retail environment,” said Véronique Laury, Kingfisher chief executive.

“We face challenges and we are addressing them. Our main challenge is Castorama France and we shared our action plan to fix it at the half-year.

“Our action plan is now implemented for this year. We have accelerated our move to an ‘everyday low price’ strategy and have launched a new marketing campaign to make it visible to our customers, however there is no quick fix.”

In a third-quarter trading update, Kingfisher said sales at B&Q were down 2.8% to £850 million, which includes showroom sales.

This follows a weak first-half of the year, with sales at the DIY chain down 2.3%.

No new B&Q stores have been opened so far this year, while it seems the business focuses on its booming merchant offering Screwfix, where sales for the quarter to end of October rose more than 10% to £442m.

Kingfisher opened nine new Screwfix depots over the three-month period.

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