Kingfisher’s strategy to create a single buying organisation and unify product ranges across its brands produced clear benefits last year, but it was not enough to outweigh weaknesses in it base business, the company said in its annual results.
The group, whose brands include Screwfix, B&Q, Castorama and Brico Dépôt, said Véronique Laury would be stepping down as chief executive and it had started the search for a replacement.
It plans to close 19 Screwfix outlets in Germany as well as addressing the underperformance of Castorama in France.
Operating profit fell to £329 million in the year to 31st January 2019, from £685m the year before. Revenue was up marginally at £11.7 billion.
The ONE Kingfisher transformation plan is now in its third year, and the company said some 44 per cent of its products had been unified. Sales and margins from unified and unique ranges “continued to grow and outperform our non-unified ranges”.
Operational efficiency initiatives delivered £100m of savings to date, it said.
Screwfix in the UK was the strongest performer increasing sales by 10.3 per cent to £1.7bn last year. Some 50 new outlets were opened as a fourth distribution centre opened in Lichfield in May.
It now plans to expand the UK Screwfix network to 800 outlets – up from a previous target of 700 – as well as opening Screwfix outlets in the Republic of Ireland.