Europe update
Kingfisher's Q1 like-for-like sales slowdown
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Toolstation ranks highly for customer satisfaction and new Homebase executive appointed
HNN Sources
Corporate restructure continues at Kingfisher impacting sales in the first quarter; Toolstation has beaten larger rivals in terms of customer satisfaction among British shoppers; and Officeworks' second-in-charge moving to Homebase for Bunnings UK & Ireland.
Slower sales at Kingfisher in Q1

Home improvement big box retailer Kingfisher reported solid UK growth for the first quarter of its financial year, but total like-for-like sales were dragged down by continued weaker sales in France and disruption from its own restructuring plans.

Total group sales in the three months to 30 April of GBP2.86 billion were up 5% on the previous corresponding period (pcp) but down 0.6% on a LFL (like-for-like) basis at constant currency rates.

This compared to a fourth quarter that saw 0.7% group LFL growth and a first quarter last year where LFL sales increased 2.3%.

UK and Irish sales were up 1.5% to GBP1.27 billion and up 3.5% on a LFL basis, with B&Q up 0.5% and Screwfix up 12.6%.

French sales from the Castorama and Brico Depot chains rose 3.8% on a reported basis to GBP1.09 billion, but LFL constant currency sales were down 5.5%.

Other European operations saw sales leap 18.4% to GBP0.51 billion, up 0.7% LFL at constant currencies, entirely from growth in Poland, with Russia and Spain still negative.

Chief executive Veronique Laury, architect of the One Kingfisher transformation plan, said the business remained on track amid her sizeable piece of corporate DIY.
We are experiencing some business disruption given the volume of change, as we clear old ranges, remerchandise new ranges and continue the roll out of our unified IT platform. However, we are on track to deliver our Year 2 strategic milestones. Early customer reaction to our new ranges is encouraging, especially in France where our new unique bathroom ranges are launching first.

Ms Laury is planning to unify 20% of product ranges compared to the 4% last year, before gearing up for unifying 55% next year. Around a quarter of space in-store is expected to be disrupted this year, up from 3% in FY 2017 from range changes.

Online sales should benefit from adoption of a new IT platform, which is now live in nearly a third of Castorama France stores, which Ms Laury said will enable the building of a much stronger digital offer.
New B&Q boss

Kingsfisher has also confirmed the appointment of Christian Mazauric as its new CEO of B&Q.

Mr Mazauric, who has been with Kingfisher for over 16 years, was previously the financial director at B&Q and currently runs its sister company Brico Depot in Romania.

In taking over the role, Mr Mazauric replaces former B&Q boss Michael Loeve who left earlier this year to become the head of Danish discount supermarket Netto.
Toolstation tops customer satisfaction poll

UK DIY store Toolstation has beaten department store Harvey Nichols and hi-tech retailer Apple, and 98 others, in a survey of customer satisfaction and how likely consumers were to recommend the retailer.

Toolstation finished joint-top with Richer Sounds, a British home entertainment retailer, in the annual Which? magazine consumer survey. It finished joint-top for the second year in a row after sharing the crown with department store chain John Lewis in 2016.

The joint-winners both achieved a customer score - based on satisfaction and likelihood of recommendation - of 80% in the poll of 10,214 consumers asked about their shopping experiences at 100 retailers over the past six months.

The DIY firm's parent company, Travis Perkins, reported an increase in its retail sales of 4.4% in its first quarter for 2017. Which? editor Richard Headland told the Daily Mail:
The best retailers, Richer Sounds and Toolstation, continue to strike the right balance by selling quality products at reasonable prices. It's a simple formula, but that's why they consistently score well with shoppers in the Which? survey.

Toolstation marketing director John Meaden said:
We are delighted that our customers have spoken highly of their experience when buying from us and are pleased to be named joint top of the survey ahead of some great names.
Management move at BUKI

Officeworks executive David Haydon has been named trading and commercial manager of Homebase, in Wesfarmers' Bunnings UK and Ireland division (BUKI). Stationery News reports that he was widely tipped to succeed Mark Ward as managing director of Officeworks,

Mr Haydon joined Officeworks in 2013 as its director of merchandise, marketing, supply chain, store development and e-commerce. He is credited with rejuvenating the Officeworks product range, driving its "every channel" strategy, and turning it into one of Wesfarmers' fast-growth businesses.

Mr Haydon will bring to his new role a solid background in hardware, having held senior roles for leading British hardware chains B&Q and Wickes, both of which are now competitors with Bunnings as it ramps up its store network through Britain and Ireland.

Mr Haydon will join the Bunnings UK leadership team in late June, reporting to BUKI managing director Peter Davis. He will also sit on the company's steering committee.

Before joining Officeworks, Mr Haydon was commercial and marketing director for Kingfisher's international businesses, overseeing commercial and marketing strategies for China, Poland, Russia and Turkey.

At B&Q he was director of trading and commercial strategy, and has worked at other large retailers including Wickes and Superdrug.

Mr Haydon's move to Bunnings UK follows the recent announcement by Wesfarmers that it has shelved plans for an initial public offering for Officeworks It is believed Mr Haydon's decision to leave was a personal one and not linked to the decision to pull the plug on a float for Officeworks.
HNN Sources

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