B&Q Ireland, a subsidiary of Kingfisher, has appointed an examiner to rescue the business, which has been hit by the decline in consumer spending.

In a process similar to going into administration, the retailer filed a petition with the High Court in Dublin yesterday seeking the appointment of an examiner.

PwC’s Declan McDonald has been appointed interim examiner. It is hoped a restructuring process through examinership will be able to save some of the business, which operates nine stores in the country and employs 690 people.

The retailer is proposing to close two stores at Athlone and Waterford to help keep the company trading and management thinks another two stores will be targeted for closure too. It will also seek “substantially” improved terms from landlords on the remaining stores.

B&Q Ireland said: “Despite remedial efforts by management, losses in the Irish market can no longer be sustained by the company.

“The company believes that in order to have a reasonable prospect of survival, consideration will need to be given to exiting property leases and closing uneconomic stores.”

B&Q Ireland chairman Brian Mooney said: “The management team is hopeful that a sustainable business can emerge from the examinership process, based on a restructuring of the company.

“Our priority remains our employees and our customers. Our colleagues have been briefed on today’s development, and understand that the company’s objective in seeking the appointment of an examiner is to try to protect jobs and retain competition and consumer choice in the market.”

During the process the stores will continue to trade, staff will be paid and all pre-paid orders, including gift vouchers and credit notes will be honoured. Suppliers will also be paid in the period.