Image courtesy of B&Q

B&Q market accounted for 8% of online retail sales in August, parent company Kingfisher says

B&Q’s new online marketplace is outperforming expectations, parent company Kingfisher Group said today, with sales from partner brands accounting for 8% of its online sales in August.

The move to enable partner brands to sell across the market resulted in the addition of 100,000 SKUs (Stock Keeping Units) by about 200 partners in one month. The group now plans to launch more markets in France, Poland and in Iberia. At the same time, it will open its first store in Scruffex, France.

The update comes as Kingfisher Group announced today £6.8 billion in sales In the six months to July 31. This is a decrease of 4.1% from £7.1 billion in the previous year. Sales similarly fell in the UK and Ireland – which excludes the impact of store openings and business closures – by 11.6%, including a 13% drop in B&Q sales and 8.8% in Screwfix. However, compared to the same period in pre-pandemic 2019, UK and Ireland LFL sales were up 16% (B&Q + 16.7%; Screwfix + 14.4%).

Profit before tax for the half year fell 30% to £474m from £677m a year earlier. The fastest decline in retail profits was in the UK, Ireland (-41.3% to £339m) and Iberia (-41.9% to £5m), while the fastest growth was observed in Poland (+58.6% to £94m).

multi-channel strategy

The e-commerce group’s sales were 19% lower than the year before – but 156% before the same period in 2019 before the pandemic. About 16% of sales were done online – down from 19% last year, but ahead of 7% in 2019. Digitally enabled sales made up 24% of sales. That’s down from 26% the year before and 20% three years ago. “Roughly a quarter of group sales come from e-commerce and online ordering channels that are placed in-store, delivered by click-and-collect or to customers’ homes,” Kingfisher says in today’s mid-year statement. “We expect digitally enabled sales to continue to grow over time, in line with the continued evolution of customer behaviors, technologies, and in-store solutions.” Click and Collect remains the most popular channel for fulfillment online – although sales across the channel are down 22% year over year but 195% ahead of pre-pandemic levels. Home delivery sales are down 11% year over year – up 97% from three years prior.

During the half-year, the retail group says it has invested in speed of delivery and expanded product selection. To this end, it has expanded its store picking model to enable click, collect and last mile delivery, order management through digital hubs – now in 54 B&Q stores – for in-store order delivery, and click and collect locker in Poland – which are being tested Now at B&Q in the UK – and has expanded one-hour UK delivery with Screwfix Sprint to over 300 stores, covering 45% of UK postal codes. The average delivery time is now 45 minutes, and his fastest delivery was eight minutes.

It also added Mobile Scan & Go to the B&Q app, expanded self-checkout terminals, and introduced a broader range of 3D design capabilities.

Kingfisher Group CEO Thierry Garnier says first-half sales of Kingfisher have been “resilient” and that there has been an encouraging start to the second half. He adds, “Looking ahead to the coming months, although trading in the year so far has been in line with our expectations, we remain vigilant against the uncertain economic outlook for the second half. So we focus on delivering value to our clients at a time when they need it most. You expect strong and ongoing execution, with a focus on increasing sales and market share, effectively managing our gross margin, and aligning our costs and inventories with market conditions.

“With business and our balance sheet in a strong position, we continue to invest in opportunities to drive growth. B&Q has successfully launched our first home improvement market during this period, and we are now preparing to launch the market in France, Poland and Iberia. We also continue to invest in the trade segment through Scrofix expansion in the Kingdom United States and Ireland, as well as further developing our offer to merchants via our banners, building on the success of TradePoint.

“We are on track to open our first store in Screwfix in France in a few weeks from now. We are developing new and innovative products and services to support more sustainable and energy efficient homes, which will benefit our customers and the environment.”

“These investments, combined with the proven resilience of the home improvement sector, our balanced DIY and DIFM/trade exposure, and our robust and consistent execution support our confidence to continue to grow ahead of our markets.

Both B&Q and Screwfix are ranked Top50 in the RXUK Top500 research.

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