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Kingfisher boss resigns as profits slow

Kingfisher boss resigns as profits slow

Kingfisher plc, owner of home improvement retailers B&Q and Screwfix, saw profits reduce by 11.3% in its annual results to the end of January, and has also announced that CEO Véronique Laury will be leaving the company. The company added that it will begin its search for her replacement.

The company is putting great emphasis, however, in its group transformation plans in order to unify product ranges across brands, boost e-commerce and seek operational efficiency savings, dubbed One Kingfisher. This includes a reconfiguration of its supply chain strategy as part of an overhaul in the company’s operations, which will be highlighted with a special Kingfisher speaking session at this May’s SHD Conference.

The company is in the third year of its five-year transformation plan as part of a company-wide strategy that is expected to cost £800m over the course of the period.

Despite sales were up 1.1% in its UK & Ireland division, encompassing performances from both B&Q and Screwfix, although was 0.8% down on a like-for-like (LFL) basis. Screwfix total sales increased by 10.3% (+4.1% LFL) to £1.6bn, expanding its industrial activities in the process having opened a fourth distribution centre in Lichfield in May.

B&Q total sales declined by 2.8% to £3.3bn. LFL sales declined by 3.0%, impacted by the sales of seasonal-related products and sales generated from non-weather related categories and initiatives like showrooms.

In its annual financial report, the company said: “The transformation plan is delivering. After the first three years, the benefits from the transformation are in line with our initial plan. However, this has been outweighed by weakness in our base business, due to a combination of ‘internal’ factors and ‘external’ challenges.

“Over the same time, a significant proportion of the costs to deliver the transformation has already been incurred, meaning that much of the ‘heavy lifting’ has been completed. We are now well positioned to benefit from future sales growth and will progressively start to see the benefits of operational leverage,” it concluded.

No date was set for the departure of Laury. She said: “Leading the transformation has been so exciting but also very challenging. As the transformation approaches its final year, I believe it is right for someone else to lead the next phase of the ONE Kingfisher journey.”

Meanwhile, Steve Willett, its Chief Transformation Officer, has decided to retire. His retirement has long been earmarked and follows the substantial completion of several major projects as Kingfisher completes a key phase of its transformation plan, including the three-year roll-out of a unified IT platform. As a result of Willett's retirement, a new role of Chief Digital and Customer Officer has been created, which will be part of Kingfisher’s Group Executive team.

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