Kingfisher buys trades digital platform for UK launch

builderKingfisher, the company behind DIY and trade suppliers B&Q and Screwfix, is aiming to further cash in on the booming home improvement sector with the acquisition of French-owned trades digital marketplace NeedHelp, which it plans to launch into the UK market.

Founded in 2014, the service connects trade and home improvement experts to homeowners looking for help with renovations. Kingfisher has forked out €10m (£8.9m) for the platform.

NeedHelp already provides services to customers of more than 500 of Kingfisher’s stores in France, and currently operates in Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and Austria.

The company said the move marked an important step forward in its digital transformation, launched earlier this year and dubbed “Powered by Kingfisher”.

Chief executive Thierry Garnier added: “To serve customers effectively today, we need to be more digital and service orientated, while leveraging our strong store assets. Online services marketplaces are key to the future of home improvement retail and NeedHelp is an established and fast-growing player in this arena.

“Its acquisition accelerates our digital capabilities and extends the services that we can provide our customers – two central components of our future growth strategy.”

NeedHelp will continue to function as an independent company offering its services to customers across the home improvement sector but Kingfisher plans to roll out the service quickly in the UK by using its well established store network.

In the summer, Kingfisher appointed two senior executives in a move designed to put digital and data at the heart of the retail group’s operations.

Financial Times executive Tom Betts became the group’s first chief data officer, having spent the past five years as a key architect in the transformation of the FT‘s evolution from print-led business to a digital-first model. Meanwhile, former John Lewis digital director Sienne Veit joined as group digital product and platform director.

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