|Public limited company|
|Founder||Richard Block & David Quayle|
|Headquarters||Eastleigh, Hampshire, England, United Kingdom|
Number of locations
|389 stores (2014)|
|Products||DIY Home improvement tools Gardening Supplies and Plants|
|Revenue||£4.5 billion (2013/14)|
|£198 million (2013/14)|
Number of employees
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.
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).
1969 to 2000
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, and was originally called Block & Quayle, soon shortened to B&Q. 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.
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. 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. 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, 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), 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, and in January 1996, the first overseas large home improvement center in Taoyuan City, Taiwan. In September 1998, it acquired NOMI, Poland's leading chain of DIY stores, and later that year merged with France's Castorama. The following year, B&Q opened a store in Shanghai, and acquired the British hardware company Screwfix.
2000 to present
B&Q opened its first store in Hong Kong on 1 June 2007, but was scheduled to close it on 13 September 2009. 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.
In March 2009, B&Q closed 22 of its then 63 stores in China, blaming the housing slump. In May 2011, B&Q agreed to acquire 31 stores in the United Kingdom, from the administrators of Focus DIY for £23M. During 2011, B&Q opened a new regional distribution centre, at G.Park in Swindon.
On 31 January 2013, B&Q Ireland Ltd. filed for examinership in the Irish courts and PWC Ireland was appointed examiner. 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. It is proposed to close two of the nine Irish stores – in Waterford and Athlone. B&Q Ireland had made a loss in each of the preceding six years.
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.
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.
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. In Ireland B&Q operate 9 individual stores. Its 2004/2005 turnover was £4.1 billion and profit £400.5 million, compared to published figures putting turnover at £3.9 billion and profit at £162.9 million for year ending February 2007. In March 2015, Kingfisher said it would close 60 B&Q stores in the United Kingdom and Ireland over the next two years. It would also close a few loss-making stores in Europe. It also said that B&Q UK and Ireland could adequately meet local customer needs, from fewer stores, and some stores should be smaller.
|Country||Number of stores|
|United Kingdom||359 (January 2015)|
|China||40 (January 2012)|
|Ireland||9 (January 2013)|
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