B&Q to close 60 stores and axe 3000 jobs

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

DIY chain B&Q is to close as many as 60 stores in a shake-up set to impact on 3,000 jobs.

B&Q's parent company Kingfisher, which also owns Screwfix, wants to cut about 15% of surplus space through the review of its 360-strong B&Q estate.

Staff at Southampton, Dundee, Baums Lane in Mansfield, Stetchford Road in Birmingham, Hyde in Greater Manchester and Barnsley have been told that their stores are closing. The locations of the other shops on the closures list, however, have not been disclosed.

The company said it believes it can meet local customer needs from fewer stores and stressed that the closures were not in response to signs that Britons are becoming less keen on DIY. Already in 2014 rival DIY chain Homebase announced that it would close a quarter of its stores – about 80 outlets – in the period up to early 2018.

While Britons may not be becoming less keen on DIY the fact that they can purchase everything much easier online than in a physical store, and a great majority are doing so, is probably the main factor, asides from the economy, here.

Kingfisher said it expects to offset the B&Q jobs impact by opening a similar number of shops at sister business Screwfix and through redeployment.

The changes were announced at the same time as the company posted a 7.5% drop in annual profits to £675 million after sales fell by 1.4% to £11 billion in the year to January 31, 2015. This performance was impacted by trading in France, where Castorama and Brico Depot were hit by the weak economy and low consumer confidence.

B&Q UK & Ireland's total sales, on the other hand, were up 1.9% to £3.7 billion in the financial year, with sales of outdoor seasonal and building products up 4%. Profits were 16% higher at £276 million.

In contrast, profits in France were 12% lower at £349 million as Kingfisher announced it will also close a small number of stores in that country.

The state of the Euro economy is impacting on the sales figures on the continent for sure but also where they are on the up, such as in the UK and Ireland operations people now spend money on home improvements and such rather than on say foreign holidays, etc. That too is a sign that the economy is far from on the up for it has also a great deal to do with the fact that prices are low, due to an almost deflation rather than any inflation.

The perpetual growth economy is anyway history and capitalism, make no mistake about it, is very much on the way out and that will mean that those large corporations are also going to be destined to the scrap heap of history. On a finite Planet perpetual growth and a perpetual growth economy cannot be sustained, ever.

Time too wake up and make some drastic changes...

© 2015