Deathwatch: B&Q and Homebase continue to struggle
B&Q are going to close 60 stores, as they continue to have a hard time getting customers through the door. Their owners, Kingfisher, are cracking the whip with closures around the UK, and will have closed 15% of B&Q surplus space by end of 2016/17.
The chief executive Veronique Laury, is optimistic though, saying: "I am pleased with the progress made to exit most of our earmarked for closure this year, which will in time strengthen our balance sheet and maintain our financial flexibility."
One of the things that is hampering profits is B&Q's sales of outdoor seasonal products, which were down 2.3%. In a bid to try and turn things around, B&Q launched 'Click, Pay & Collect' on over 14,000 products last year, with the new DIY.com site.
Also struggling is Homebase. The owner Home Retail Group, released its second financial quarter results, which showed that sales were down by 2.8%. This is thanks, in part, to the ongoing store closure programme. Home Retail Group, who also own Argos, were hoping concession shops might turn things around.
Chief executive John Walden said: "Argos delivered an improved sales performance in the second quarter. It made good progress with new stores, opening more than 50 digital concessions within Homebase and Sainsbury’s, which have generated encouraging early results."
"Homebase performed well across its peak trading season, delivering good like-for-like sales growth in both quarters of the first half, while continuing its progress on both its store closure programme and the Productivity Plan more broadly."
"The outcome for the Group’s full year generally depends upon the important Christmas trading period at Argos which, this year, seems less predictable than usual due to a less certain promotional environment. Our teams have made solid progress preparing for this period, including substantially completing the technology and operational steps necessary to introduce new store collection and home delivery propositions to our customers. We will be making increased marketing and promotional investments to launch these propositions and we expect customers to increasingly embrace them over time."
Is everyone just not into DIY anymore? We blame the death of Changing Rooms.