• Decathlon lifer Jean-Paul Constant to join Kingfisher as chief sales and retail operations officer
  • He replaces two senior directors who left this month 
  • Véronique Laury admits: “We are looking at what Bunnings are doing”

Kingfisher has poached a long-serving Decathlon executive to oversee its retail operations following the exit of two senior directors. 

Jean-Paul Constant, who has spent 20 years at the French retailer, will join the DIY giant this summer as its chief sales and retail operations officer, a newly combined role.

Constant, whose current role is managing director of Decathlon Australia, will lead Kingfisher’s big-box formats, which comprises the B&Q, Castorama and Koçtaş brands, and medium-box formats, which includes Brico Depot.

He replaces Guy Colleau, operations director for ‘big box’ and Alain Souillard, operations director for ‘medium box’, after both exited Kingfisher earlier this month

The announcement came as Kingfisher today unveiled a 20.5% slide in full-year pre-tax profits as it continues with an overhaul of the business.

The DIY giant is also testing a new big-box store format as part of a move to unify the business. The first pilot in the UK will open at Cribbs Causeway, Bristol in early July with others following in Ireland, Poland and Russia. 

Other plans to improve the business include having a new unified IT platform and simplifying its product range.

Meanwhile, Kingfisher is preparing to go head to head with a revitalised Homebase after it was acquired by Australian retail giant Wesfarmers in January.

Wesfarmers plans to scrap the Homebase fascia and replace it with its Bunnings brand, Australia’s biggest DIY retailer.

On the threat posed by Wesfarmers, Kingfisher boss Véronique Laury said: “We are looking at what Bunnings are doing. They will be a good competitor, but it will take them time. They have much higher margins in Australia.”

She added: “We will be investing in B&Q; the UK won’t be left on the side. We are used to having strong competitors.”