Kingfisher to close 60 B&Q stores in Britain

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Tue Mar 31, 2015 7:52am BST

LONDON (Reuters) – Kingfisher (KGF.L), Europe’s biggest home improvement retailer, said on Tuesday it planned to close about 60 underperforming B&Q stores in Britain as the group posted a 7.5 percent fall in annual profit.

The store closures form part of new Chief Executive Veronique Laury’s plan to shake-up the group. She succeeded Ian Cheshire in December.

B&Q currently trades from 360 stores and the planned closures will represent about 15 percent of the chain’s space.

Kingfisher said Kevin O’Byrne CEO for B&Q UK and Ireland would leave the business on May 15.

The group, which also trades as Screwfix in Britain and Castorama and Brico Depot in France, also plans to close a few loss-making stores in Europe, develop unified garden and bathroom businesses and start a revitalisation programme for its big stores across Europe.

Kingfisher made a pretax profit of 675 million pounds in the year to Jan. 31.

That was in line with analysts’ average forecast of 674 million pounds but down from 744 million a year earlier.

The fall in profit reflected a slower market in France since the summer of 2014, 34 million pounds of adverse foreign exchange movements on the translation of non-sterling profits and 22 million pounds in charges for new country development activity.

Sales rose 2.9 percent on a constant currency basis to 10.97 billion pounds.

Kingfisher ended the year with net cash of 329 million pounds and is paying a dividend of 10 pence a share, up 1 percent. It also plans to return a further 200 million pounds to investors during the 2015-16 year. 

Shares in Kingfisher, the world’s No. 3 DIY player behind U.S. groups Lowe’s (LOW.N) and Home Depot (HD.N), have fallen 12 percent over the last year. They closed at 364.8 pence on Monday, valuing the business at 8.54 billion pounds.

On Monday, Kingfisher’s proposed 275 million euro purchase of small French rival Mr Bricolage (MBRI.PA) collapsed. 


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