British DIY group Kingfisher has finished 2011 with an excellent fourth quarter. The holding company of B&Q, Screwfix and the French Castorama chain has also announced a reorganisation at its top level, with International CEO Peter Hogsted as its most important victim.
Good financial year, despite B&Q setback
“With sales growth in each of our three main divisions and further solid profit growth in our final quarter, we have ended another challenging year in robust shape”, said CEO Ian Cheshire, who expects that the group's full results will meet the £ 799 million (€ 960 million) profit analysts are expecting. That would mean a 20% rise compared to 2010, which Kingfisher owes mainly to its good results abroad.
In its British home market, Kingfisher witnessed a 2.5% decrease in turnover, more than the 2% analysts were expecting. The 360 B&Q stores on the British Isles are the main reason for that decrease, due to a change in strategy in the kitchen and bathroom department. Kingfisher's British DIY chain fares better: turnover on a like-for-like basis went up 2.2%, celebrating the milestone of the 200th Screwfix store that opened last month.
Reorganisation at the top
Along with its preliminary results, Kingfisher also announced a reorganisation at the top, with which the group is “trying to expand the experience of its key senior management”, as an analyst of the Royal Bank of Scotland stated. Kingfisher is now thought to leave the current division by regions and reorganise into a division by sector:
- Financial director Kevin O'Byrne would become “Divisonal CEO” van B&Q, responsible for B&Q's in the UK, China and Turkey (through a joint venture) and for the strategic alliance with the German Hornback chain.
- CEO Kingfisher UK & Ireland Euan Sutherland is to take up the post of COO, while retaining responsibility for Screwfix.
- CEO Kingfisher France Philip Tible will be “Divisional CEO” of Castorama and Brico Dépôt, responsible for the French, Spanish, Russian and Polish business of the two chains.
This new structure means the elimination of the Kingfisher International department and its CEO Peter Hogsted. The Dane, former CEO of Ikea UK, has worked at Kingfisher since 2008. The group announced to be looking for a new CFO – possibly an elegant way to keep Hogsted on board.