Kingfisher Group set to exit Russia, Spain and Portugal

Europe's second-largest home improvement retailer, Kingfisher Group, is streamlining its business in order to deliver on its ambitious profit targets

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Kingfisher CEO Véronique Laury has described French subsidiary Castorama as the group's “main challenge” moving forward

Home improvement conglomerate Kingfisher will exit Russia, Spain and Portugal in order to consolidate its hold on other European markets, the group announced on November 21.

In a statement, Kingfisher CEO Véronique Laury said: “[The closures will] allow us to apply our strategy with more focus and efficiency in our main markets where we have, or can reach, a market leading position.”

Kingfisher owns UK firms B&Q and Screwfix, as well as Castorama and Brico Dépôt in France. While sales across the group were up 1.2 percent this quarter, like-for-like sales fell 1.3 percent, with Kingfisher’s French businesses, in particular, dragging down profits.

While sales across the Kingfisher Group were up 1.2 percent this quarter, like-for-like sales fell 1.3 percent

Castorama’s sales fell 7.6 percent in Q3 2018, a fact the company has attributed to continued weak footfall. Laury has described the French subsidiary as Kingfisher’s “main challenge” moving forward.

The group is into the third year of its ONE Kingfisher plan, which, according to its website, aims to “deliver a £500m [€561.6m] sustainable annual profit uplift” by 2021. Talking of the plan, Laury said: “We continue to make progress on our transformation… [and] remain on track to achieve our key strategic milestones for the third year in a row.”

She added: “We have accelerated our move to an everyday low price strategy and have launched a new marketing campaign to make it visible to our customers, however there is no quick fix.”

Kingfisher is Europe’s second-largest home improvement retailer behind France’s Groupe Adeo, but has lost a third of its stock market value since February.

The group isn’t the only one suffering, though: a slowdown in eurozone financial growth, uncertainty surrounding Brexit and competition from e-commerce platforms such as Amazon has created a highly challenging sales environment for many retailers in Q3 2018.