B&Q owner Kingfisher looks for new boss to replace Veronique Laury as profits fall

B&Q store. Picture by Frank ReidB&Q store. Picture by Frank Reid
B&Q store. Picture by Frank Reid
The owner of B&Q has kicked off the search for a new chief executive as it revealed plans for another raft of store closures amid tumbling annual profits.

Kingfisher said it had begun succession planning for under-fire boss Veronique Laury, but has not yet set a date for her departure and confirmed she will remain in post until a successor has been appointed.

The group also said it is considering axing another 15 stores group-wide over the next two years on top of plans to shut all 19 Screwfix outlets in Germany, leaving it with just an online presence for the brand in that country.

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It came as Kingfisher reported a 52.8 per cent plunge in pre-tax profits to £322m for the year to January 31.

On an underlying basis and stripping out costs including £111m for store closures, pre-tax profits fell 13 per cent to £693m.

Ms Laury has faced increasing pressure after the group has suffered declining profits and sales despite her efforts under a five-year transformation plan launched in 2016.

She said: “Leading the transformation has been so exciting but also very challenging.

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“As the transformation approaches its final year, I believe it is right for someone else to lead the next phase of the One Kingfisher journey.”

The group’s full-year results showed B&Q sales dropped 3 per cent on a like-for-like basis over the year, while Screwfix remained the star performer with a 4.1 per cent rise in comparable sales.

Kingfisher said it will continue to roll out Screwfix stores in the UK and has increased its target to around 800 outlets, up from 700 previously, with aims to open shops in Ireland from this year.