Thierry Garnier: ‘In a crisis, speed, agility and empowerment beat perfection’

Thierry Garnier

B&Q owner Kingfisher’s chief executive Thierry Garnier on how the home and DIY retail giant responded to the Covid-19 pandemic, and why ‘done is better than perfect’

The last few months have been very difficult for our industry. But the pandemic has shown the importance of speed, agility and empowering your teams in navigating a way through times of crisis. It has also shown how retailers can accelerate change in their businesses to enable them to survive – and in some cases grow. 

Kingfisher was classified as a retailer of essential goods in our major markets, but as lockdown approached we made the decision to shut stores for several weeks because we needed to make them safe. Facing lockdown, consumers turned to online and digital options and we needed to adapt, fast. 

We changed operating models overnight – almost literally. Our teams in each country were empowered to develop solutions that worked best in their markets, as they are closest to the customers. 

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