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B&Q owner Kingfisher prioritises ecommerce after reporting full-year online sales drop

B&Q storefront

B&Q and Screwfix parent company Kingfisher, says it’s focusing on winning and retaining online customers as it reports a 9.1% fall in full-year ecommerce sales – and a 39% fall in pre-tax profits.

Despite this, the retail group’s online business remains more than twice its pre-pandemic size. In its latest financial year, 16.3% of sales took place online. That’s up from 7.9% three years earlier although behind last year’s 17.9%. In the longer-term Kingfisher aims to see a quarter of its sales online. In February 2023, 24% of its online sales were via the B&Q marketplace that launched last March. Some 91% of online sales were collected in store, highlighting the role of multichannel retailing for the business.

“Our ecommerce sales have increased by 146% over the last three years and we have enhanced our online proposition with the launch of marketplace offerings in the UK, Spain and Portugal, which are all performing strongly,” said Kingfisher chief executive Thierry Garnier.

The update comes as Kingfisher reports sales of £13.1bn in the year to January 31 2023. That’s down by 0.9% from the same time last year. Online sales came in at £2.1bn, 9.1% down on the previous year. On a like-for-like basis, which strips out the effect of store and business openings and closures, sales were 2.1% down on the previous year.

Pre-tax profits of £611m were 39.3% down from £1bn a year earlier, following “significant increases in discount rates and revised future projections”.

Kingfisher says it is now pivoting towards the next phase of its ecommerce journey with a stronger focus on acquiring and retaining digital customers, further improving ecommerce channel economics, scaling its ecommerce marketplace offering, and accelerating the development of data-driven products and solutions. New marketplaces will soon be launched in Poland and France.

Despite the drop in profits, Garnier praised the firm’s “resilient” performance.

He said: “We have maintained a sharp focus on pricing to deliver value to our customers during this challenging period for household finances, while at the same time managing our cost inflation pressures effectively. Strong supply chain management has ensured good product availability and a firm grip on our inventories.

“We remain confident in both the growth of our industry and in our strategic priorities supporting growth ahead of our markets.”

Screwfix is ranked as a Leading retailer in RXUK Top500 research, with B&Q appearing in the Top50.

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