Business review

A conversation with the executive team

Having transformed Kingfisher into a stronger business, we are now much better placed to accelerate our development and create a truly world-class leader in home improvement retailing.

Euan Sutherland Peter Hogsted Kevin O'Byrne Ian Cheshire Euan Sutherland Philippe Tible

Q

Great job on profits, but sales densities are still low. Do we need a booming economy to see LFL sales growth in the UK?

A

Euan Sutherland responds:

No we don't, but we've clearly been battling a strong headwind in recent years and our market is smaller today than it was in 2004, the height of the last home improvement boom. B&Q is a great British retail brand but you can never sit still in retail and so we have done a lot over the last few years to keep raising our game. Our stores are more modern, our operating standards are now much sharper and consistent, and we have trained 21,000 colleagues in product knowledge to improve our service in store. We do a great job for our 'everyday DIYer' customer and have really improved our offer for the 'do it for me' customer. This year we introduced a whole new concept, TradePoint, into B&Q stores, which vastly improves our offer for our 'trade professional' customers. We have also recently launched a new customer promise of 'making it easier' to improve your home and this is where I think we can really differentiate ourselves and grow our market share. To this end I recruited Véronique Laury who led the successful product development programme at Castorama in France, to be our new commercial director. I also recruited Katherine Paterson, previously the marketing director of ASDA, to lead our new 'making it easier' marketing campaign. So I think we have a very exciting time ahead of us, building on strong foundations, creating a true market leader.

Q

We've heard about common ranging before, why will it work this time round?

A

Euan Sutherland responds:

As Ian said earlier, introducing common ranges is a huge growth opportunity for Kingfisher, both for driving sales and margin. I think the new 'One Team' approach is the key to properly harnessing our scale and talent this time round. The really good news is it's no longer just a strategy or a dream, it's happening today in stores. On shelf right now in B&Q are outdoor products under the new group-wide 'Blooma' own brand in multi-lingual packaging. And they are on shelf in France and Poland too! That's a huge breakthrough for Kingfisher and it's only just beginning. One day I want 50% of everything in store to be common to all our businesses.