B&Q to close 60 stores

B&Q Cleveland Retail Park

DIY retailer B&Q has announced plans to close 60 stores in the UK and Ireland over the next two years.

But the Kingfisher group, which owns B&Q, says it plans to open 60 new shops under its other DIY brand, Screfix, this year.

There are three B&Q stores on Teesside – Middlesbrough, Stockton and Hartlepool – as well as two in Darlington, from 360 in total.

It isn’t known yet if they’re under threat, with Kingfisher initially revealing six stores which will close as part of the plans, including Southampton, Dundee, Mansfield, Stechford in Birmingham, Hyde and Barnsley.

Kingfisher also announced a 15.2% fall in pre-tax profit to £644m for 2014.

The store closures, which will result in a £350m one-off cost, mark Veronique Laury’s first major move as chief executive.

The former Castorama boss took over from Sir Ian Cheshire as chief executive last September.

Ms Laury said: “Home improvement is a great market with huge potential and Kingfisher has a strong position within it with further scope to grow in a sustainable way.

“However, it is clear to me that we need to organise ourselves very differently to unlock our potential.”

B&Q said top executives’ roles would now be more focused on the entire company, it would cut the number of products it sold, as well as unify its IT platform across the group.

Other plans include making the most of its vacant store space and it said it was in discussions with several retailers about sub-letting opportunities.

The announcement comes a day after the group, which also owns Castorama and Brico Depot in France, walked away from its planned €275m purchase of French DIY chain Mr Bricolage after one of the latter’s shareholders opposed the deal.

 

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