Kingfisher is one of Europe's biggest home improvement retailers, home to the B&Q, Castorama, Brico-Depot and Screwfix chains. Those chains are all that remains of what was once an extensive collection of different retail businesses accumulated during the 1990s. A change of strategy in 2001 led to a gradual dismantling of the group as Kingfisher sharpened its focus on the DIY sector. Woolworths was demerged in 2001, and the electrical retail businesses Darty and Comet were spun off in 2003. The slimmed down Kingfisher is among the top four companies in the global home improvement industry with 1,380 stores in eight countries, though the group's main markets are the UK, France and Poland. Kingfisher was arguably better placed than its American rivals to exploit rapidly expanding developing markets such as China. However expansion beyond Europe met with little success. There are operations in a few other smaller territories in Europe, but sales are low. The Castorama business in Russia was sold in 2020 to local rival Maxidom. Group revenues for the year ended Jan 2020 were £11.5bn, with net profit of just £8m (from £193m the year before) as a result of £441m of impairments against operations in Russia. The UK accounted for revenues of £5.1bn, France for £4.1bn and Poland for £1.5bn. B&Q is the leading home improvement retailer in the UK & Ireland by a considerable margin with more than 980 stores. The group's branding approach is strongly reminiscent of US giant Home Depot, most notably in logo design and the orange aprons worn by staff. However performance has come under intense pressure from a general downturn in consumer spending. That has been offset by strong growth over several years by secondary brand Screwfix, primarily a catalogue-based trade counter though it also serves ordinary consumers. Castorama is the leading DIY brand in France for general customers, but ranks second overall behind Adeo's Leroy Merlin, which has a large trade customerbase. It is partnered by low cost sister brand Brico-Depot. The group also co-owns Turkey's leading DIY chain Koctas. Veronique Laury, previously chief executive of Castorama, became CEO in 2015, but departed the group during 2019 and was replaced by former Carrefour executive Thierry Garnier.
Capsule checked 5th March 2021
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Who are the competitors of B&Q Castorama? B&Q's main UK rivals are Wickes and Homebase. In Europe, the main competitors to Castorama are Groupe Adeo (Leroy Merlin and other brands) and Bricomarche (Intermarche) in France. US competitors include Home Depot, Lowe's and Menards, while Germany's market leaders are Tengelmann's OBI and Hornbach. Switzerland's Bauhaus has an extensive footprint across multiple European markets. The market leader in Latin America is Sodimac. See Retail Sector index for other companies
Historical profile information for Kingfisher
Adbrands Weekly Update 11th May 2017: Ads of the Week: "Building Stories". Fathers with wayward daughters will almost certainly have had some experience of the dilemma facing the Dad in this charming spot from TBWA Paris for DIY store Castorama. Do you encourage misbehaviour? Or do you wall her up with bread and water until she mends her ways? We know what we'd do, but, well, these guys are French... so what do you expect.
Adbrands Weekly Update 2nd April 2015: Anglo-French DIY group Kingfisher delivered multiple bombshells this week, along with disappointing results for the year to March 2015. The changes included the collapse of its attempts to acquire French rival Mr Bricolage as a result of potential competition issues, the closure of up to 60 of its UK-based B&Q stores and also the departure of B&Q chief executive Kevin O'Byrne. The latter development follows the unveiling of a new strategy to forge closer cooperation between its two main businesses in the UK and France, and the appointment of two French executives linked to Kingfisher's French subsidiary Castorama to lead the combined retail estate. And yet it was Castorama that put the biggest dent in the latest financial results, with revenues and profits both falling, even at constant currency rates, compared to increases in both metrics in the UK. Group revenues slipped 1% to just under £11bn and pretax profits fell 15% to £644m.
Adbrands Weekly Update 18th Sep 2014: Sir Ian Cheshire announced his resignation as CEO of DIY group Kingfisher, owner of the B&Q and Castorama retail chains. He will step down in Jan 2015, to be succeeded by Castorama chief executive Veronique Laury, who will become one of only five women at the head of a FTSE 100 company.
Adbrands Weekly Update 10th Apr 2014: Ads Of The Week: "Unleash the B&Q in You". WCRS makes a strong debut for UK home improvement store B&Q with this oddball comic spot, which comes just in time for the Easter holidays, that traditional start of the amateur DIY season. We like. Separately, parent group Kingfisher was revealed to be in advanced negotiations to acquire its French competitor Mr Bricolage for €275m including debt.
Adbrands Weekly Update 16th Jan 2014: Two of the UK's biggest specialist retailers concluded creative reviews, with Dixons Retail selecting AMV BBDO for the Currys PC World business, while DIY giant B&Q placed its account with WCRS.
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