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B&Q plc
Public limited company
Industry Retail
Founded 1969 (Southampton)
Founder Richard Block and David Quayle
Headquarters Eastleigh, Hampshire, England, United Kingdom
Number of locations
389 stores (2014)[1]
Key people
Kevin O'Byrne (CEO)
Products DIY
Home improvement tools
Gardening Supplies and Plants
Revenue £4.5 billion (2013/14)[2][3]
£198 million (2013/14)[2][3]
Number of employees
29,962 (2010)[4][5]
Parent Kingfisher

B&Q plc, originally known as Block & Quayle, is a British multinational DIY and home improvement retailing company headquartered in Eastleigh, England, United Kingdom. Founded by Richard Block and David Quayle in 1969, it is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Kingfisher plc.[6]

B&Q currently has stores in mainland China, the Republic of Ireland and Taiwan, as well as the United Kingdom. It is the largest DIY retail chain in China and the United Kingdom. It is the second-largest in Europe and the fourth-largest in the world (behind The Home Depot, Lowe's and OBI).[7]


1969 to 2000[edit]

B&Q was founded in March 1969 in Southampton, England, UK by Richard Block and David Quayle. The first store opened in the Southampton suburb of Portswood,[8] and was originally called Block & Quayle, soon shortened to B&Q.[9] The chain quickly expanded, and by 1979 there were 26 stores across the UK, by which time the first of the co-founders had left the business: Block left in 1976 and Quayle in 1982.[10]

B&Q grew rapidly through a combination of mergers, acquisitions and expansions. In 1980, B&Q bought the Hampshire based company Dodge City, and was itself acquired by F. W. Woolworth Company.[11] F. W. Woolworth's UK subsidiary (Woolworths Ltd.) and B&Q were bought two years later by Paternoster, now known as Kingfisher plc and still B&Q's parent company.[12] In the late 1980s B&Q purchased Timberland DIY based in the North East.

B&Q developed two new trading formats; HomeCentres, retailing furniture, bathrooms, soft furniture, flooring and lighting and AutoCentres being similar to a Halfords, the first launch taking place at Cribbs Causeway in Bristol in the late 1980s. The concept being to have a HomeCentre, AutoCentre and DIY superstore with one communal car park. The forays into these new markets were relatively short lived and the various sites were sold on a couple of years later. The AutoCentres becoming in the main 'Charlie Browns', the HomeCentres being sold off individually

In the mid-1990s B&Q opened a new format of store known as The Depot (later changed to B&Q Depot),[13] a forerunner of a new class of store known as the B&Q Warehouse. The company also began to expand outside the United Kingdom. In 1995 it co-operated with parent company Kingfisher plc to open its first overseas subsidiary in Taiwan,[14] and in 1996 the first overseas large home improvement center in Taoyuan City, Taiwan. In 1998 it acquired NOMI, Poland's leading chain of DIY stores,[15] and later that year merged with France's Castorama.[16] The following year B&Q opened a store in Shanghai,[17] and acquired the British hardware company Screwfix.

2000 to present[edit]

A B&Q MegaBox store in Hong Kong

B&Q opened its first store in Hong Kong on 1 June 2007,[18] but was scheduled to close it on 13 September 2009.[19][20] In December 2007, Kingfisher sold its 50 per cent stake in B&Q Taiwan to its joint venture partner. The $106.5 million (£52 million) proceeds were used to reduce debt.[21]

In March 2009, B&Q closed 22 of its then 63 stores in China, blaming the housing slump.[22]

In May 2011, B&Q agreed to acquire 31 stores in the United Kingdom from the administrators of the Focus DIY chain for £23 million.[23][24]

On 31 January 2013 B&Q Ireland Ltd. filed for examinership in the Irish courts and PWC Ireland was appointed examiner.[25][26] B&Q Ireland stores will continue to trade as normal for the next 100 days until a suitable buyer is found or alternative financing arrangements can be made. Gift vouchers will continue to be honoured in stores and its 700 staff will continue to be paid.[27] It is proposed to close two of the nine Irish stores – in Waterford and Athlone.[28] B&Q Ireland had made a loss in each of the preceding six years.[29]



A B&Q store in Grimsby, England

By 2000 B&Q had 51 of its larger Warehouse stores; this had doubled by 2003.By 3 May 2014 B&Q in the UK had 359 stores and 20,887 employees.[30] In Ireland B&Q operate 9 individual stores.[31] Its 2004/2005 turnover was £4.1 billion and profit £400.5 million,[32] compared to published figures putting turnover at £3.9 billion and profit at £162.9 million for year ending February 2007.[33]

Country Number of stores
United Kingdom 359 [34]
China 40 [35]
Ireland 9[28]


In 2011, B&Q opened a new regional distribution centre at G.Park in Swindon. At 74,000 m², it is the largest building ever to be built in Swindon.[36]


  1. ^ Enright, Allison (20 February 2014). "The digital future of stores". Internet Retailer Magazine (Chicago: Vertical Web Media). 
  2. ^ a b [1], Kingfisher Annual Report 2010 Financial Review UK & Ireland.
  3. ^ a b [2], Kingfisher Annual Report 2010 Financial Review Other International
  4. ^ "Our business and our markets: UK & Ireland". Kingfisher Annual Report 2009/10. Kingfisher. Retrieved 7 June 2014. 
  5. ^ "Our business and our markets: Other international". Kingfisher Annual Report 2009/10. Kingfisher. Retrieved 7 June 2014. 
  6. ^ "Company Information". B&Q. Retrieved 23 August 2011. 
  7. ^ "Interest rate worries cloud Kingfisher". Reuters. 31 May 2007. Retrieved 28 September 2011. 
  8. ^ "History of B&Q". About B&Q. B&Q. Retrieved 19 January 2012. 
  9. ^ Sawyer, Miranda (17 July 2004). "Fear of diy-ing". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 26 April 2010. 
  10. ^ "B&Q Online: From Kitchens & Bathrooms to Sheds & Paving; plus planning tools". Diy.com. Retrieved 29 April 2012. 
  11. ^ The Woolworths Virtual Museum – the acquisition of B & Q Retail Ltd
  12. ^ "Kingfisher plc : Home – Investors – Press releases". Kingfisher.com. 30 October 2002. Retrieved 29 April 2012. 
  13. ^ History of B&Q: Windsave Wind Turbine System WS1000PS T2 now at B and Q DIY Stores
  14. ^ http://taiwanjournal.nat.gov.tw/ct.asp?xItem=17710&CtNode=118
  15. ^ "Western influx underscores potential | Home Channel News | Find Articles at BNET.com". Findarticles.com. Retrieved 29 April 2012. 
  16. ^ "Top 10 dealers on Earth grow 21.7% | Home Channel News | Find Articles at BNET.com". Findarticles.com. Retrieved 29 April 2012. 
  17. ^ "B&Q sets its sights on ambitious store rollout - Shanghai B and Q Building Material Supermarket Co - International Pages - Brief Article | Home Channel News | Find Articles at BNET.com". Findarticles.com. 6 August 2001. Retrieved 29 April 2012. 
  18. ^ "Kingfisher plc : Home – Media – Press releases". Kingfisher.com. 1 June 2007. Retrieved 29 April 2012. 
  19. ^ "Kingfisher to close B&Q store in Kowloon Bay". The Standard. Retrieved 28 April 2012. 
  20. ^ http://www.bnq.com.hk/chi/index.php
  21. ^ Fletcher, Richard (18 December 2007). "Kingfisher sells B&Q Taiwan stake". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 26 April 2010. 
  22. ^ Wood, author=Zoe (26 March 2009). "Kingfisher makes deep cuts in B&Q's Chinese chain | Business | guardian.co.uk". London: Guardian. Retrieved 28 April 2012. 
  23. ^ "B&Q owner Kingfisher buys 31 Focus DIY stores". BBC News. 6 May 2011. Retrieved 16 November 2012. 
  24. ^ Grierson, Jamie (6 May 2011). "B&Q owner buys 31 Focus DIY stores". London: The Independent. Retrieved 16 November 2012. 
  25. ^ "B&Q owner's Kingfisher puts Irish arm into examinership". BBC News. 1 February 2013. Retrieved 2 February 2013. 
  26. ^ "Video: B&Q’s troubled Irish arm seeks examinership but insists it’s business as usual". Irish Independent. 
  27. ^ "Examiner appointed to DIY chain B&Q Ireland". RTÉ News. 31 January 2013. 
  28. ^ a b http://www.breakingnews.ie/ireland/bq-enters-examinership-proposes-closing-athlone-and-waterford-stores-583149.html
  29. ^ http://www.herald.ie/breaking-news/national-news/diy-store-bandq-enters-examinership-3371714.html
  30. ^ "Kingfisher PLC About US". kingfisher.com. Retrieved 11 July 2014. 
  31. ^ "B&Q Online: From Kitchens & Bathrooms to Sheds & Paving; plus planning tools". Diy.com. Retrieved 28 April 2012. 
  32. ^ "UK-Wire". Moneyextra.uk-wire.com. Retrieved 29 April 2012. 
  33. ^ "B&Q firm upbeat but profit falls". BBC News. 29 March 2007. Retrieved 26 April 2010. 
  34. ^ http://www.kingfisher.com/index.asp?pageid=33
  35. ^ "Kingfisher plc – About us – Brands – B&Q". Kingfisher.com. 28 January 2012. Retrieved 28 April 2012. 
  36. ^ http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/8323891.Huge_B_Q_distribution_centre_gets_the_go_ahead/

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