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B&Q plc
Public limited company
Industry Retail
Founded 1969 (Southampton)
Founder Richard Block & David Quayle
Headquarters Eastleigh, Hampshire, England, United Kingdom
Number of locations
389 stores (2014)[1]
Key people
Michael Loeve
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 with headquarters in Eastleigh, England, United Kingdom. Founded by Richard Block & David Quayle in 1969, it is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Kingfisher plc.[6]

B&Q currently has stores in mainland China, 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 & OBI).[7]


1969 to 2000[edit]

B&Q was founded in March 1969 in Southampton, England, by Richard Block & 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 United Kingdom, by which time the first of the co-founders had left the business: Block left in 1976 & 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 the F. W. Woolworth Company.[11] F. W. Woolworth's United Kingdom subsidiary (Woolworth's 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.[citation needed]

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, 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.[citation needed]

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 Focus DIY for £23M.[23][24] During 2011, B&Q opened a new regional distribution centre, at G.Park in Swindon.[25]

On 31 January 2013, B&Q Ireland Ltd. filed for examinership in the Irish courts and PWC Ireland was appointed examiner.[26][27] 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.[28] It is proposed to close two of the nine Irish stores – in Waterford and Athlone.[29] B&Q Ireland had made a loss in each of the preceding six years.[30]


In June 2001, in Poole, Dorset, 69–year–old customer Pamela Jean Hinchliffe was fatally crushed by a forklift at the firm's Fleetsbridge store. In June 2004, B&Q were found guilty of causing death, and the following month they received a fine of £550,000. However, in September 2005, their legal costs were reduced on appeal.[31]

In November 2002, Damian Nicholls, the forklift driver, was prosecuted by the Crown Prosecution Service, at Winchester Crown Court. On 16 June 2001, the court was told that Nicholls had hit some pallets, and a colleague commented that he would "end up killing someone". He was acquitted of manslaughter, and of causing death by dangerous driving. However, in October 2005, Nicholls' fine was reduced, again on appeal.[citation needed]


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 United Kingdom had 359 stores, and 20,887 employees.[32] In Ireland B&Q operate 9 individual stores.[33] Its 2004/2005 turnover was £4.1 billion and profit £400.5 million,[34] compared to published figures putting turnover at £3.9 billion and profit at £162.9 million for year ending February 2007.[35]

In March 2015, Kingfisher said it would close 60 B&Q stores, in the United Kingdom & Ireland over the next two years. It would also close a few loss making stores in Europe. It also said that B&Q UK & Ireland could adequately meet local customer needs, from fewer stores, and some stores should be smaller.[36]

Country Number of stores
United Kingdom 359 [37]
China 40 [38]
Ireland 9[29]


  1. ^ Enright, Allison (20 February 2014). "The digital future of stores". Internet Retailer Magazine (Chicago: Vertical Web Media). 
  2. ^ a b "Kingfisher Annual Report 2009/10 - Report home - Business review - Financial review - Trading review - UK & Ireland". Kingfisher.co.uk. 2010-01-30. Retrieved 2015-08-29. 
  3. ^ a b "Kingfisher Annual Report 2009/10 - Report home - Business review - Financial review - Trading review - Other International". Kingfisher.co.uk. 2010-01-31. Retrieved 2015-08-29. 
  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. ^ [1] Archived 28 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ "Kingfisher plc : Home – Investors – Press releases". Kingfisher.com. 30 October 2002. Retrieved 29 April 2012. 
  13. ^ [2] Archived 29 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ [3] Archived 8 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ "Western influx underscores potential | Find Articles at BNET.com". Findarticles.com. Retrieved 29 April 2012. 
  16. ^ "Top 10 dealers on Earth grow 21.7% | 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 | 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. ^ [4] Archived 25 March 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  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 | The Guardian.". The Guardian (London). 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". The Independent (London). Retrieved 16 November 2012. 
  25. ^ Swindon Advertiser, accessed 31 March 2015
  26. ^ "B&Q owner's Kingfisher puts Irish arm into examinership". BBC News. 1 February 2013. Retrieved 2 February 2013. 
  27. ^ "Video: B&Q’s troubled Irish arm seeks examinership but insists it’s business as usual". Irish Independent.  C1 control character in |title= at position 12 (help)
  28. ^ "Examiner appointed to DIY chain B&Q Ireland". RTÉ News. 31 January 2013. 
  29. ^ a b 31/01/2013 - 16:19:51 (2013-01-31). "B&Q enters examinership, proposes closing Athlone and Waterford stores". BreakingNews.ie. Retrieved 2015-08-29. 
  30. ^ [5][dead link]
  31. ^ "UK | B&Q forklift death appeal fails". BBC News. 27 September 2005. Retrieved 24 March 2015. 
  32. ^ "Kingfisher PLC About US". kingfisher.com. Retrieved 11 July 2014. 
  33. ^ "B&Q Online: From Kitchens & Bathrooms to Sheds & Paving; plus planning tools". Diy.com. Retrieved 28 April 2012. 
  34. ^ "UK-Wire". Moneyextra.uk-wire.com. Retrieved 29 April 2012. 
  35. ^ "B&Q firm upbeat but profit falls". BBC News. 29 March 2007. Retrieved 26 April 2010. 
  36. ^ "Kingfisher to close about 60 B&Q stores - BBC News". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2015-08-29. 
  37. ^ "Kingfisher plc - About us - Brands - B&Q". Kingfisher.com. 2015-01-31. Retrieved 2015-08-29. 
  38. ^ "Kingfisher plc – About us – Brands – B&Q". Kingfisher.com. 28 January 2012. Retrieved 28 April 2012. 

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