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Kingfisher accelerates last-mile delivery and drives distribution efficiency


Kingfisher Group has pledged an accelerated focus on last-mile delivery in its latest results this week, as well as outlining how it is reorganising distribution for greater efficiency.
It said its shift to store-based picking and fulfilment in March 2020 has provided critical in meeting the significant rise in online volumes the business has seen over the last 18 months. During the first half of 21/22 90% of the group’s online orders were picked in store.

The strategy has allowed Kingfisher to improve the speed and cost of fulfilling home delivery orders, with 57 B&Q stores now being used as digital hubs for fulfilling home deliveries. The company is also reorganising its distribution and fulfilment capacity in the UK with three new sites opening within the next six to 12 months. This will enable faster store replenishment, an expanded available range for home deliveries, and wider coverage of fulfilment.

Kingfisher’s focus on ‘same-day’ home delivery is a key focus for the group. “We believe quick fulfilment will drive a key competitive advantage for our banners, in particular over online ‘pure-plays’,” said the company in its results announcement.

Following a successful trial in Bristol, Screwfix launched Screwfix ‘Sprint’ in August 2021, offering delivery of orders direct to site within one hour. Sprint will be available in more than 30 cities across the UK by November. Learnings from the ‘Sprint’ tests are being shared with other retail banners that are also testing same-day delivery, including B&Q.

Kingfisher also outlined how key risks around stock availability continue in product categories such as building materials and outdoor ranges. This is coupled with the pandemic and Asian port congestion placing strain on international logistics infrastructures. The cost and availability of shipping containers remains a challenge and the retail group said it expects such pressures to continue into 2022.

Despite the challenges the group said that it had been able to manage its supply and logistics needs effectively. “This has been achieved through close collaboration with suppliers and logistics providers, improved forecasting processes, and placing orders significantly ahead of peak trading periods. As a result, product availability has gradually improved during H1, and is currently above where it was at the start of the financial year. Moreover, to date we have managed the challenges well around the cost and availability of shipping containers and heavy goods vehicles (HGV) drivers.”

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