Home and DIY giant Kingfisher plc is the parent company of B&Q, Screwfix and TradePoint, as well as internationally Castorama, Brico Dépôt, and Koçtas, a mix of brands that serve both consumers and trade.
The largest DIY retail company in the UK, it also has a substantial presence in Europe, with a total of approaching 1,500 stores across eight countries – UK, Ireland, France, Poland, Spain, Portugal, Romania and Turkey.
The group recently sold off the Russian arm of Castorama, and although it is also looking to offload other markets in favour of focusing on its UK & Ireland, plus France and Poland territories, Kingfisher also has global expansion plans in which partnerships will become increasingly important. In March 2021 it signed a franchise agreement with Al-Futtaim Group to expand its B&Q fascia to the Middle East.
The UK remains Kingfisher’s primary market and provided 49% of total group turnover during the 2021 financial year (to end-January 2022). This compares to its next largest market of France which accounted for 34% of group turnover.
In 2020, it acquired an 80% stake in tradespeople booking platform NeedHelp, marking its first foray into the services sector. While most of its business was initially in France, the marketplace has been rolled out across the UK and Poland following successful trials.
Kingfisher also develops its own products, created by an in-house design team or in collaboration with its suppliers. Brands include Erbauer, Magnusson, Site, GoodHome and MacAllister.
Kingfisher boss Thierry Garnier, who joined the group in September 2019, unveiled his new strategy, Powered by Kingfisher, in June 2020 – three months into the coronavirus crisis. The strategy, which aims to restore profitability, sees Kingfisher focus on growing its ecommerce sales, developing exclusive brands, improving its sourcing and inventory management and reducing overall group complexity.
The plan also aims to give autonomy back to the individual fascias.
Garnier’s predecessor, Véronique Laury, had attempted to bring its fascias closer together under her One Kingfisher programme. But it left each business with reduced flexibility to appeal to local consumers in each of their markets, sales dropped, profits went into a tailspin and Kingfisher crashed out of the FTSE 100.
Taking back more control of their individual propositions to better cater for local demographics has been a popular move with the fascia management teams, with B&Q boss Graham Bell saying his brand has “got its mojo back”.
For more about UK fascias B&Q and Screwfix, see their individual profiles.