The owner of DIY chain B&Q has announced plans to close 60 stores across the UK and Ireland…
In a statement, the company said: “Kingfisher has said for some time that B&Q UK & Ireland can adequately meet local customer needs from fewer stores and that some of the store should be smaller.”
Closing the stores will cost £350m and mark the first major move of Veronique Laury since becoming chief executive last September.
Laury said it was “clear” the company needed to organise itself “very differently to unlock our potential”. She added the decision to close the stores was part of a set of “first sharp decisions” that would be undertaken.
The company is currently in discussions with other retailers to see if it could sub-let some of its surplus space. As well as reducing the number of retail outlets, B&Q will also cut the number of products it sells. The firm also plans to refocus its top executives to ensure greater efficiency.
The news comes just one day after the group decided not to proceed with plans to purchase French DIY chain Mr Bricolage for €275m. Kingfisher also owns French companies Castorama and Brico Depot.
Performance in France has been poor. Sales were down 6.6 per cent for the year due to “an ongoing soft market” caused by weak consumer confidence and a declining construction industry.
However, UK and Ireland based operations saw sales increase by 5.4 per cent, reflecting a stronger economy as well as a growing construction industry.