B&Q is mulling emulating Tesco’s strategy of investing in complementary businesses to fill its bigger retail stores.
The move comes as the retailer continues to rightsize its 360 store portfolio.
Ian Cheshire, chief executive of B&Q parent company Kingfisher, said: “We might do something more radical and take smaller businesses which need space and bring them into the business a bit like [Tesco boss] Phil Clarke is doing with Giraffe. We haven’t got a deal to unveil but we encourage the team to think radically.”
Cheshire referred to the potential of doing joint ventures with other companies. He said: “What I would have loved to do maybe seven to 10 years ago rather than now is to persuade [homewares retailer] Bed Bath & Beyond to come to the UK, but Dunelm have filled that gap.”
B&Q has signed 18 agreements with supermarkets to offload some store space. If all 18 store deals get planning approval, the retailer will have cut its UK space by 5%, saving £16m annually in rents and £7m in rates.
Cheshire said that B&Q could maintain the same sales with 20% less space.
Kingfisher UK and Ireland retail profit dipped 1.4% to £143m in its first half to August 3 as adjusted pre-tax profits across the group fell 1.6% to £365m. UK and Ireland like-for-likes dipped 1%.
Across the group, Kingfisher’s adjusted pre-tax profits fell 1.6% to £365m as like-for-likes dipped 0.8%.
The DIY group is expanding its tradesman-focused fascia Screwfix to Germany with a four store trial next summer. Cheshire said that there was potential to expand Screwfix further and said France was “an obvious choice”.