Kingfisher to close stores

B&Q1Kingfisher, Europe’s biggest home improvements retailer, says it will close 60 stores in Britain and Ireland, a day after pulling out of a takeover for French chain Mr Bricolage.

British group Kingfisher, which owns the chains B&Q and Screwfix in Britain as well as Castorama and Brico Depot in France, said on Tuesday it would close the stores over the next two years at a restructuring cost of STG350 million (A$677.51 million).

Neither the exact locations nor number of planned job losses were disclosed.

“Kingfisher has said for some time that B&Q UK and Ireland can adequately meet local customer needs from fewer stores and that some of the stores should be smaller,” the group said, while revealing the departure of B&Q CEO, Kevin O’Byrne.

It was also announced that Kingfisher’s annual profits had dropped 19 per cent to STG573 million.

“The results for the year reflect a mixed picture across our markets with the UK market improving but continental Europe, particularly France, proving to be a more challenging environment,” the company said.

“However, our ongoing focus on cash and tight capital discipline meant we were able to continue to invest in the business whilst maintaining a strong balance sheet, pay STG234 million in annual cash dividends and return a further STG200 million to shareholders via special dividends and share buy backs.”

In reaction to the announcements, Kingfisher’s share price surged 4.74 per cent to 382.10 pence, topping London’s benchmark FTSE 100 index, which edged up 0.08 overall.

Its shares had also rallied on Monday after Kingfisher said it had pulled out of a deal to buy Mr Bricolage in the absence of regulatory approval.



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