Kingfisher builds B&Q and Screwfix digital operations

B&QDIY group Kingfisher, which owns B&Q and Screwfix, is planning to expand the ecommerce strategy which has kept its outlets open during the Covid-19 lockdown, as part of a major digital expansion drive.

The new strategic plan, dubbed ‘Powered by Kingfisher’, has been revealed in the group’s full-year results, published today, which show a slight fall in group sales of 1.5% to £11.5bn and pre-tax profits down 5.2% to £544m for the year to January 31.

The new strategy is the brainchild of French chief executive Thierry Garnier, who joined Kingfisher in September last year from Carrefour Group. One of his first hires saw the return of Belgian Jean-Jacques Van Oosten from Lego in January this year.

Van Oosten, who had previously been Kingfisher group IT director, took up the role of chief customer and digital officer, succeeding Pierre Woreczek, who left in 2019 after three years with the business.

Garnier said: “Our clear intent is to become a more digital and service orientated company, using our strong store assets as a platform.

“We will continue to develop our own exclusive brands as a differentiator, cater for diverse local customer needs and each retail banner will have its own positioning and plan. We will ‘power’ these banners as a group. This is our new strategic direction, ‘Powered by Kingfisher.”

The strategy includes boosting the ecommerce operation from its current level of 8% of total group sales, with a key tenet of the new push being the expansion of click & collect, which currently accounts for 62% of ecommerce sales.

In the first few weeks of lockdown, B&Q closed its stores but kept the click & collect option. Now that stores have reopened it wants to build on this momentum. Screwfix, whose customer zones are much smaller, is continuing to take only online orders.

The group, which also owns Tradepoint in the UK, as well as European retailers Castorama, Brico Dépôt and Koçtaş, added that it wants to “build a mobile-first and service orientated customer experience… leveraging customer data and analytics to personalise content and offers”. Mobile currently accounts for nearly half (46%) of Kingfisher’s current digital traffic.

B&Q appointed Uncommon Creative Studio to its marketing account in December after working with former Engine agencies WCRS and Partners Andrews Aldridge. Ogilvy handles the Screwfix business.

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