|Public limited company|
|Traded as||LSE: KGF
|Headquarters||Paddington, City of Westminster, London, United Kingdom|
(Group Chief Executive)
|Products||Home improvement products such as home appliances, tools, home furnishings, hardware, and garden supplies & plants.|
|Revenue||£11,125 million (2014)|
|£746 million (2014)|
|£710 million (2014)|
Number of employees
|Approximately 79,000 (2015)|
Kingfisher plc is a British multinational retailing company headquartered in London. It is the largest home improvement retailer in Europe and the third-largest in the world (behind The Home Depot and Lowe's). It has over 1,176 stores in eleven countries across Asia and Europe and its brands include B&Q, Castorama, Brico Dépôt and Screwfix.
Kingfisher was founded in 1982 by the buyout of the British Woolworths chain by Paternoster Stores Ltd, which later changed its name to Woolworth Holdings plc. The Company expanded through subsequent acquisitions of companies such as B&Q, Superdrug and Comet. It was led from 1984 (until his retirement in 2002) by Sir Geoffrey Mulcahy, who became renowned for his taciturn public persona, lengthy decision-making and love of sailing. Largely through his influence, Kingfisher became the major sponsor of British sailor Dame Ellen MacArthur. It was renamed Kingfisher plc in 1989.
Further acquisitions of European companies such as Castorama, BUT S.A. and Wegert enabled the Company to grow to become the largest general retail business in the UK. In 1999, Kingfisher attempted a takeover of Asda, one of the UK's largest supermarket chains, only to be beaten by Wal-Mart. Coupled with an acrimonious battle for control of Castorama, the resultant share price pressure forced the sale and demerger of several parts of the Company by 2001, including Woolworths (forming the Woolworths Group), and the demerger of the electricals business to form Kesa Electricals in 2003 – causing the Company to refocus entirely around DIY.
The Company was led by Gerry Murphy from 2002 until 2008. In January 2008 Kingfisher appointed Ian Cheshire as group chief executive. Cheshire was formerly B&Q's chief executive; his B&Q role was taken over in April 2009 by Euan Sutherland, who also heads up the UK Division of Kingfisher.
In September 2014, it was announced that the head of Castorama Véronique Laury would replace Ian Cheshire as Kingfisher group CEO as of February 2015. Laury has worked at Kingfisher for eleven years, including roles at B&Q.
Kingfisher currently operates over 1,176 stores in eleven countries in Asia and Europe. Its main retail brands are B&Q, Castorama, Brico Dépôt, and Screwfix.
The companies now part of the Kingfisher group are:
- B&Q; operations in the UK, Ireland and China
- Brico Dépôt; in France, Spain and Romania
- Castorama; in France, Poland and Russia
- Koçtaş; 50% joint venture in Turkey
- Screwfix; has over 370 branches in the UK and in September 2014 opened 4 stores in Germany
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