Move quashes Kingfisher bid speculation
Home Depot has ruled out expansion in Europe, ending years of speculation that the US home improvement giant could bid for Kingfisher.

According to the Financial Times, Home Depot chief executive Bob Nardelli said the fragmented nature of the market, planning restrictions and slow economic growth were factors weighing against investment in Europe and has taking the Continent off Home Depot's growth agenda.

Home Depot is known to have considered making European acquisitions in the past and Kingfisher was considered to be a likely target, with meetings between Nardelli and Kingfisher group chief executive Gerry Murphy fuelling speculation that a bid would be tabled.

However, so far, no official approach has been made and Kingfisher has always maintained the meetings were borne out of a want to share market knowledge. Nardelli said: 'It is not a reflection on Kingfisher, because it is a good company. But our focus right now is China and we still have lots of opportunities in North and Central America.'

Sales at Kingfisher, which were unveiled last month, showed that, over the second quarter, like-for-like sales at B&Q dropped 2.4 per cent for the 11 weeks to July 15, compared with an 8.8 per cent drop in the first quarter. At the time, Murphy said: 'There were early signs of progress at B&Q in the UK, despite a continuing weak consumer market for home improvement.'