Transformation is the buzzword of the day, as both Kingfisher and House of Fraser insist their respective turnaround plans will pave the way to success.
House of Fraser’s new boss Alex Williamson, who joined from Goodwood this summer, thundered that the business was set to prosper once its new strategy takes shape.
“This is just the start of our journey with several other projects designed to provide additional sales and costs savings as part of the overall transformation programme due to commence shortly. I am excited about what lies ahead for the business and I am optimistic for the future,” Williamson said.
But despite his optimism, half-year like-for-like sales at the Sanpower-owned department store sunk 5.2% and losses widened to £8.6m as the retailer invested £25m in a new web platform.
Meanwhile, at B&Q and Screwfix-owner Kingfisher, group chief executive Véronique Laury celebrated the business delivering on its strategic milestones for the second year running, and its share price shot up.
Although there have been some bumps along the way, with business disruption slicing around 2% off the DIY giant’s like-for-likes during its first half, Laury’s confidence is unwavering.
So far, the company has consolidated nine buying teams into one, introduced new 40 unified product categories, including shower enclosures and bathroom storage, and rolled out a new digital platform in the UK and into Castorama stores in France.
According to Kingfisher’s interim results presentation, online now accounts for 5% of the group’s sales and a one-hour click-and-collect service is now available at all B&Q stores.
Although the DIY boss expressed caution about the trading environment for the second half of the financial year, she asserted that the company – apparently unaffected by its revolving boardroom doors – remained on track to deliver its five-year transformation and reap the benefits.
Quote of the day
“Consumers… may increasingly have to choose what to spend their money on: everyday essentials or discretionary items. In the coming months, we may see some discretionary sub-sectors struggle, and some of the gains we have seen this month in non-food and discretionary categories such as clothing could quickly reverse.”
– Deloitte head of retail Ian Geddes commenting on last month’s ONS retail sales
Today in numbers
The half-year like-for-like sales dip at DIY group Kingfisher.
The year-on-year uplift in sales by volume last month, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics.
Tomorrow brings results from River Island and the Co-op.
Emily Hardy, senior reporter