Kingfisher boss Ian Cheshire has urged British retailers to look abroad for growth in the downturn as he revealed ambitions to acquire “bolt-on sites” for the retailer’s French and Turkish operations.

Cheshire, who spoke at the BRC’s International Retailing 2013 event on Thursday, said broader international operations give retailers “better geographical balance” and allow them to tap into growing markets. He also added there were opportunities to be gained in common sourcing across a more global business.

He said that Kingfisher is “looking at picking up bolt-on sites in Turkey and France”.

Cheshire said there is a bigger opportunity in Turkey now that rival Praktiker plans to exit the country. “We’re seeing consolidation in the market,” said Cheshire. “We’ll cherry-pick some of the best sites.”

Kingfisher makes 70% of its retail profits overseas in France, Poland, Russia, Spain and China. It bolstered international operations in April when it acquired 15-store Romanian DIY retailer Bricostore.

Cheshire said retailers should expand internationally now because it is a good time in the economic cycle with recovery on the horizon. The price of property is still lower than at the peak of the market.

He also called on the EU to create a ‘Digital Single Market’ in Europe to simplify selling online across the continent.

“We need simplification and standardisation on legislation,” said Cheshire.