Europe’s biggest home improvement retailer Kingfisher Plc to open first outlets in India and Brazil

Kingfisher Plc is mulling commencing operations in India with the opening of its first outlets in the country. The move will be followed by a similar venture in Brazil, Latin America’s biggest and fastest growing economy. Kingfisher Plc is Europe’s biggest home-improvement retailer and its overseas venture in India and Brazil may be followed with additional acquisitions in its current markets, in an effort to bolster its position.

The effort is targeted at spurring growth after duration of store rejuvenations and cost control. In a conference call, Ian Cheshire, Kingfisher Plc chief executive officer said the firm will outline its latest plans in the first quarter of 2011. The firm is as well keen on adding more energy efficient products and enhance sales through the internet and mobile phones, said Cheshire.

Based in London, Kingfisher Plc reiterated that its interest remains with small bolt on acquisitions, and will thus favor store purchases in countries where it already has operations. Cheshire said Kingfisher will be going into its growth cycle strategy in 18 months time, a period for which the firm will turn to overt growth measures.

Currently, the firm is almost done with its three year “Delivering Value” strategy that is targeted at enhancing margins at the B&Q chain in the UK, rejuvenate Castorama stores in France and turn around its unprofitable China unit. Kingfisher’s pretax profit went up to 351 million pounds, about 22 per cent, in the first half of 2010 ended July 31st.

However, the company turned around its debt from 740 million pounds to a cash position of 19 million pounds, read a statement from the firm. The last time Kingfisher undertook investments was in 2005, when it acquired stores.

Cheshire said Kingfisher is focusing on product innovations such as a new lighting range, heating insulation and power tools to drive sales, together with new categories including household cleaning and small electrical products like coffee machines.

Kingfisher is keen on growth in digital and eco markets and in that regard has prepared a list of options and strategies for geographical expansion, inclusive of India, Brazil and eastern European countries, said its chief executive. The firm will be opening an additional ten stores in Eastern Europe and a central distribution hub in Poland.

Kingfisher is an international retail business with around 840 stores in eight countries. The firm employs 78,000 people and nearly six million people visit our stores every week.

17 Sep 2010.