B&Q Owner Invests In An Omnichannel Future

After revealing a 13% fall in pre-tax profits and a further 2.4% fall in sales totals, DIY giant Kingfisher group, which owns B&Q and Screwfix, have announced that despite the losses, they are making plans to build the business for the long term, but are still placing heavy emphasis on their push to promote the e-commerce side of their operations. In particular, they have put in place a new initiative for change called the ‘Creating The Leader’ programme. The purpose of this scheme is to try to create more customer demand and to grow the business, so that it will benefit all the stakeholders and create better relationships with trading partners too.
 
The announcement comes alongside the widely expected news that the group will continue to downsize the floor space at certain branches of their stores and make further moves to show themselves as an omnichannel presence. Over the 2012/2013 business year around 70 new B&Q stores were opened within the United Kingdom, with moves to reduce the sizes of some other outlets, which Kingfisher group claim will give savings of around £30 million in leases alone.
 
At the current time Kingfisher group also trades in France and Germany as Castorama, Brinco Depot and Hornbach respectively, while in Turkey they are known as Koctas. The slump in current sales, has, in part been blamed on the poor UK weather over recent months, with Kingfisher claiming that this alone had accounted for around £25 million in losses.
 
Recent investments in e-commerce mean that by 2014 a fully overhauled B&Q website will launch and, already in place, the Screwfix ‘Click, Pay and Collect’ service is proving to be a valuable addition, as it currently accounts for around 55% of the company’s total mobile sales.
 
The improvements are not going to be solely related to e-commerce as Kingfisher also hopes to try and push ahead with new in-store formats such as new look stores for the Asian market with improved displays and services for both staff and customers.
 
Group Chief Executive of Kingfisher Ian Cheshire commented “Although we expect market conditions to remain challenging, we will continue to actively manage the business, optimising the generation and use of cash and driving longer term success through our own actions”.
 
Cheshire added that he felt optimistic about longer term prospects, despite the outlook being challenging, also saying that there were plenty of "positive initiatives in the pipeline" that would mean customers could still have sustainable homes.