Our unique contribution as a business to our customers is that we can harness our home improvement experience, our heritage as a leader in sustainability and our international scale to bring new, more sustainable and more affordable products to market. By also providing our customers with project advice and new shopping channels to complement our stores we will make it easier for them to adapt their homes to their evolving lifestyles. Our shorthand for describing this purpose is “Better Homes, Better Lives” and the programme of self-help initiatives to achieve this purpose is called ‘Creating the Leader’.
'Creating the Leader' 2014/15 progress
In March 2014, we set out our key 2014/15 priorities against our four areas (Easier, Common, Expand and One Team) that make up ‘Creating the Leader’. Today we update on the progress we have made towards each of these 2014/15 priorities:
Progress update from the Group Chief Executive as at 10 September 2014
10 September 2014
“This was a difficult first half with demand in our largest and most significant market, France, remaining particularly weak with a sharp market downturn experienced in our second quarter. We did though deliver flat profits in France, a resilient performance despite the difficult backdrop.
“However, conditions in the UK were more favourable with better weather and encouraging signs in the smaller tradesman market. We were able to capitalise on the better conditions with Screwfix performing particularly well growing sales by 23%. B&Q UK & Ireland also delivered their best H1 sales growth in over a decade as the new team start to gain traction with its re-energising initiatives and started to make progress with its plan to better position the business for the future.
“Looking to the longer term, we continue to work on our ‘Creating the Leader’ programme including opening Screwfix and Brico Dépôt stores in two new countries and accelerating the rebranding of the recently acquired Romanian business into the Brico Dépôt format. We remain convinced that investment today to develop the highly profitable Screwfix and Brico Dépôt formats into new markets creates a huge growth opportunity for Kingfisher.
“Whilst our French business saw an improvement in August we remain cautious about the economic backdrop and focused on trading effectively with continued self-help initiatives whilst continuing with our initiatives to build a long term, sustainable future for the business. We have a strong balance sheet and cashflow to enable the necessary investment in the future as well as paying a healthy dividend to our shareholders. I am pleased that we are also recommencing our share buyback.”