This growth has been achieved whilst adhering to our values as a responsible business. We aim to trade responsibly with respect to our customers, our staff and our shareholders, as well as the environment and the communities in which we operate. We remain members of the FTSE4Good Index and the DowJones Sustainability Indexes.
Kingfisher’s growth has also been achieved against an extremely difficult economic backdrop, particularly in the UK and within the Eurozone. With consumers across Europe suffering pressure on their disposable incomes, our management team has concentrated on selfhelp initiatives to strengthen our business, rather than relying on any market improvement. These initiatives have included managing our costs, cash and stock as well as continued expansion of direct sourcing, development of our common core product range and more innovation in products, services and multi-channel retailing.
I would like to mention a few operational highlights. Retail profit grew in each of our three main operating divisions. In France, both Castorama and Brico Dépôt outperformed a market that was slightly stronger than the UK. In the UK & Ireland, B&Q profit increased by 11% in a home improvement market which remained challenging. It also expanded its business through the acquisition of 29 ex-Focus stores, with 27 already open under the B&Q banner and trading well. Screwfix had an excellent year, opening 53 net new Trade Counters and continuing to establish itself as a leader in multi-channel retailing. Elsewhere, profits grew in Poland and Turkey and our losses in China were significantly reduced.
As you know, 2011/12 marks the end of the four-year Delivering Value phase of our strategic plan. I am pleased that this first stage in our journey has been such a success and I congratulate the management on their performance. To have delivered this growth in such challenging times for economies across Europe is a tribute to the strength in depth we have within the management team here at Kingfisher.
I am confident that the Delivering Value plan has provided the foundations for the next phase of our development, called Creating the Leader. By making home improvement easier for customers, developing a common core product range, and expanding our businesses both in existing markets and new ones, I believe Kingfisher can become the true leader in home improvement retailing. You can read more about this plan in the Creating the Leader section.
I would like to pay tribute to John Nelson, who retired as Kingfisher’s Deputy Chairman in 2011 after nine years on the Board. John’s wise counsel was extremely valuable to Kingfisher and the business made good progress during his tenure. We wish him well. I would like to welcome Mark Seligman, who joined the Board as Senior Independent Director in January. Mark is a distinguished investment banker with over 30 years of experience in the City and I’m sure his knowledge will be of great benefit to the Group.
It is important to thank our 80,000 staff whose hard work and enthusiasm has been the driving force behind our performance. Retailing is very much a people business and success is a team effort. We are at a very exciting stage in our journey, and although the economic backdrop is difficult I believe that challenges present opportunities and that Kingfisher is well placed to make the most of them.