In advance of its forthcoming investor event, Kingfisher plc announces total third quarter sales ahead 9.2% in constant currencies, a senior management restructure and details of the event.
Kingfisher plc, Europe's leading home improvement retailer, today announces:
Total reported sales for the continuing home improvement businesses grew 13.3% in the 13 weeks to 1 November 2003, ahead 9.2% in constant currencies and 3.6% on a like for like basis. As previously highlighted at the time of the Group's interim results, sales in the third quarter were adversely affected by the prolonged heatwave across Western Europe. Following the return to more normal conditions like for like sales growth improved in October.
In the quarter, UK total sales grew 8.2%, up 2.7% on a like for like basis. One new Warehouse store and two new mini Warehouses were opened in the quarter. Following the early success of this new format, eight Supercentres were converted into mini Warehouses.
In France, total reported sales grew 18.8%, up 7.5% on a constant currency basis. Like for like sales were ahead 4.0%. Three relocated new format Castorama stores which opened in the period are proving popular with customers and are trading ahead of expectations.
Kingfisher's International operations (Poland, Italy and China) grew consolidated sales by 28.5%, up 22.8% in constant currencies. Like for like sales were ahead 7.8%.
Gerry Murphy, Kingfisher's Chief Executive, said: “For the most part, we were able to mitigate the profit impact of the sales slowdown early in the quarter. The Board continues to expect satisfactory progress for the year as a whole.”
Kingfisher will provide a more detailed review of third quarter sales and retail profit on 10 December 2003 and host an analyst conference call, in accordance with its normal quarterly reporting programme.
Senior Management Changes
Kingfisher also today announces a number of changes to its senior management team.
Bill Whiting will retire from the Board in February 2005. He will step down from his current position as Chief Executive of B&Q at the end of the current financial year on 31 January 2004 to take up a part-time executive role reporting to Gerry Murphy, Group Chief Executive Officer, working on the development of the Group's major brands.
Bill will be succeeded as Chief Executive of B&Q by Rob Cissell who is promoted from his current position as B&Q's Managing Director - Commercial. Rob has extensive retail experience and has been with Kingfisher for nine years. Before moving to B&Q at the beginning of this year he was Managing Director of Comet.
Following the successful restructuring of the Group over the last three years, Helen Weir has tendered her resignation as Group Finance Director to seek a more operational management role. After eight years with the Company, including three as Group Finance Director, Helen will step down from the Board at the end of this financial year. She will remain with the Group until 31 March 2004 to ensure an orderly handover to her successor.
Duncan Tatton-Brown, currently Finance Director of B&Q, will join the Board on 2 February 2004, as Group Finance Director. Duncan joined B&Q in 2001, prior to which he held senior finance positions at Virgin and the Burton Group.
George Adams, currently Group Commercial Director is promoted to the new post of Chief Executive, Commercial, in recognition of the importance of Group-level product sourcing, range optimisation and pricing strategy. George will report direct to Gerry Murphy.
Commenting on the Board changes Sir Francis Mackay, Chairman said; “Bill Whiting has made an enormous contribution to the Group over the last 21 years helping build B&Q from a small DIY chain to the UK's Number 1. He was a key architect of the successful Warehouse format and has exported the B&Q brand successfully to Asia. I am delighted that Bill will be staying on the Board and that he is being succeeded at B&Q by such a capable leader as Rob.
“I understand but am saddened by Helen Weir's decision to leave the Group. She has been a highly effective Finance Director and Board member and has made a great contribution, both in her time at B&Q and, particularly, over the last 3 years during the re-structuring of Kingfisher. I thank Helen on behalf of the Board and wish her well. Duncan has proved himself an outstanding Finance Director at B&Q and I look forward to his joining the Board”.
He added: “It is a sign of the depth of talent in Kingfisher that we can fill these key positions from within the business.”
Kingfisher will be hosting a two-day event for analysts and investors on 13 and 14 November 2003 comprising a series of management presentations and store visits in the UK and France.
The purpose of the event is to provide participants with a greater understanding of Kingfisher's principal retail businesses and an opportunity to meet members of their management.
Company presentations will focus on future growth opportunities, including store development, new products and services and supply-side efficiency. The latter is targeted to deliver around £1 billion in cumulative cash savings over the next five years. It is expected that up to 75% of these savings will be invested in lower prices for customers, modernising existing stores and helping fund store expansion.
No further trading details on the third quarter, or on current trading will be disclosed during the event.
A copy of the presentations to be given at the event will be available on this website from mid-day on both days.
Ian Harding, Director of Communications
0207 644 1029
Nigel Cope, Head of External Communications
0207 644 1030
Loraine Woodhouse, Head of Investor Relations
0207 644 1032
Kingfisher is Europe's leading home improvement retailer with leading market positions in the UK, France, Poland, Italy, China and Taiwan. Kingfisher operates nearly 550 stores in nine countries in Europe and Asia. The group also has a strategic alliance with Hornbach, Germany's leading DIY warehouse retailer, which operates more than 100 stores across Germany, Austria, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Sweden and the Czech Republic.
Bill Whiting, 56, joined B&Q in 1982 and held various senior positions including Marketing Director, Managing Director Warehouse and Managing Director of B&Q International. He became Chief Executive of B&Q in 2000 and was appointed to the Kingfisher Board at that time.
Helen Weir, 41, joined B&Q in 1995 and was promoted to B&Q Finance Director in 1997. She was appointed Group Finance Director in 2000 and joined the Kingfisher Board at that time. Before joining B&Q she held a senior position at McKinsey &Co.
Duncan Tatton-Brown, 38, joined B&Q in 2001. He was previously at the Virgin Group from 1998 to 2001, latterly as Group Finance Director of Virgin Entertainment. From 1987-97 he held various positions at the Burton Group.
Rob Cissell, 43, joined Kingfisher in 1994 from Argos. He has held various senior positions including Trading Director at Woolworths and Managing Director of Comet. He moved to B&Q as Managing Director - Commercial at the start of this year.