Posted on 14 February 2011
B & Q – “Turkey is driving growth”
Ian Cheshire, chief executive of Kingfisher, felt able to crack a joke as he presented the B&Q owner’s first-half results. Quite a feat for a man trying to revive the retail giant.
The group has managed to reduce debt so that it would not have to go anywhere near a bank until 2012, he said, adding: “Though I’m not sure if there will be any left by then.”
It is no surprise that morale is high at Kingfisher: Europe’s biggest DIY retailer yesterday beat forecasts with a 23 per cent rise in first-half profits. Having sold its Italian division and announced it was going on a “capex diet”, Mr Cheshire is aiming to bring the retailer back to rude health after a dismal 17 months during which its share price has halved.
Kingfisher believes it is well placed to weather the worsening economic climate and, as shares rose nearly 11 per cent yesterday, the market seems to believe it.
Mr Cheshire said that while footfall was noticeably down, consumers were still spending once in the shops.
But the group, which runs about 800 stores in eight markets across Europe and Asia, said Poland, Turkey and Russia were driving growth.
TIMES ONLINE – 19 September 2008 (Abridged)