British DIY chain Kingfisher will be closing 34 outlets over the next two years, including eleven in France. The group is also looking for a new CEO to succeed Véronique Laury, who will be stepping down.
9 Castoramas, 2 Brico Dépôts closed
Kingfisher has had another difficult year: while the company ended financial year 2018-2019 with a stable turnover of 11.7 billion pounds (13.6 billion euros), its net profits were almost halved, falling to 218 million pounds (250 million euros).
These disappointing results are mostly due to the company's French branch, which includes big names such as Castorama and Brico Dépôt. They have 224 stores in France, employing 18,000 people, but the French DIY market has been shrinking for years and Castorama has been hit particularly hard. To help turn the tide, the group will be closing nine Castoramas and two Brico Dépôts over the next two years. The 789 employees of those stores will likely be moved to other outlets.
Exit Véronique Laury
These closings are part of a bigger plan: at the European level, fifteen stores for the general public will be closed. Another nineteen outlets of German sister chain Screwfix, which is aimed at professionals, will also be terminated. And near the end of last year, the group also mentioned they will be moving out of Portugal, Russia and Spain.
These difficult times at Kingfisher have also led to a change in leadership: CEO Véronique Laury will be stepping down. She became CEO in late 2014 and rolled out a major transformation plan in 2016, which emphasised more efficient logistics and a more uniform range along with lower prices, but that plan has yet to yield any real results. Laury will stay on board for as long as the search for a new CEO continues: "I will continue to give 100 per cent until the day I depart", she stated in a press release.