The boss of DIY giants B&Q and Screwfix has issued a statement on the future of its UK stores after pre-tax profits dropped from £1billion to £611million. DIY superstores B&Q and Screwfix are popular for their offerings of DIY tools, decorations, household items and gardening equipment.
But in recent years, the mega stores have seen increasing competition from high street outlets such as Home Bargains, B&M and Wilko. Despite this, Kingfisher, the parent company of both B&Q and Screwfix, has now revealed plans to open more than 100 new shops before the end of 2023..
Kingfisher says it plans to open at least 50 smaller B&Q stores and 60 more Screwfix sites. The smaller stores will look different to the huge megastores shoppers are used to, but will still serve the same purpose.
This comes despite the DIY chain seeing its pre-tax profits drop from £1billion to £611million in the year to January 31. Like-for-like sales fell 2.1% to £13.1billion, with around 11% of this - £1.4billion - coming from the sale of energy and water-saving products.
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However, sales were still 15.6% higher than pre-pandemic, with online sales surging by 146%. Kingfisher chief executive officer Thierry Garnier told The Sun: “We are in a good shape to be honest.
“We have no debt, we have executed our plan and there is a lot of opportunities for growth still. It is our responsibility to pursue growth quickly”. The news comes after B&Q said it will close eight of its sites in ASDA stores.
The closures started from March 11 and around 57 staff will be affected - although no jobs will be lost. The staff impacted by the decision to close the "mini-markets" are to be offered alternative roles in nearby stores.
B&Q said the decision was made after an "intensive review" of the test format. At the time of the announcement, B&Q strategy director Chris Bargate said the retailer will now focus on its smaller B&Q Local high street stores.
The eight locations closing as part of the announcement are:
- Sheffield Drakehouse
- Great Bridge
B&Q is one of many brands planning an expansion this year, in what will be a further boost for the UK high street. Greggs plans to open 150 new branches this year, as well as refurbishing another 150 and relocate 40 of its shops to larger sites.
On top of this, the bakery giant will trial a 24-hour drive thru service and a further 300 shops will see their opening hours extended to 9pm this year. Primark is also embarking upon an expansion spree over 2023, with plans to open 27 new stores during the financial year, says the Mirror.
Several of these will be in the US but new openings are also in store for the UK, with announcements including shops in Bury St Edmunds, Salisbury, Teesside Park and Craigavon.
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