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' 2013/14 progress and key priorities for 2014/15
In March 2012, we set out four areas (Easier, Common, Expand and One Team) with eight specific steps that make up 'Creating the Leader' along with their associated key success measures and short-term annual milestones. Today we update on the progress we have made towards each of the 2013/14 milestones set last year. Going forward from 2014/15, we are replacing the longer list of detailed milestones in favour of a summarised version that better highlights the key wider Group priorities, within the 'Creating the Leader' framework:
Progress update from the Group Chief Executive
25 March 2014
Ian Cheshire, Group Chief Executive, said:
“We finish a challenging year in good shape, with our self-help programme meaning we have grown profit and economic return, improved our balance sheet strength whilst also investing in lower prices for our customers and improved convenience. The economic backdrop was generally soft across Europe for much of the year, particularly in France, our most significant market.
“Looking ahead we are well placed to benefit from a pick-up in consumer spending as Europe's economies return to growth. Our prospects remain bright, giving us confidence to invest in the business and actively manage our portfolio, including expanding into new markets, whilst also commencing a programme of returning surplus capital to our shareholders, alongside the healthy annual dividend.”