France’s Castorama helps float Kingfisher
While the United Kingdom-based B&Q chain of DIY retailers was weak in the fourth quarter, strong sales in France and Eastern Europe at the company’s Castorama branch helped float Europe’s largest home improvement company.
Kingfisher, parent of B&Q and Castorama, posted fourth-quarter sales of 2.18 billion British pounds (US$4.33 billion) up 4.8 percent from US$4.13 billion in the same period last year.
“Kingfisher’s international businesses, which account for more than half of group sales, continued to grow, with Castorama in France and Poland performing particularly strongly,” said Ian Cheshire, Kingfisher group chief executive. “Continuing this momentum will be our key international priority next year, along with addressing our performance in China.”
B&Q total sales were up just 0.2 percent in the quarter. The company revamped eight B&Q stores as part of a bid to restyle all of the country’s 324 stores. The retailer also launched new power tool, shelving and storage programs.
Sales at French Castorama stores rose 4.3 percent, with “continued penetration of [house brands] and strong sales.”
In the rest of Europe, sales rose 14.3 percent, “boosted by a strong end to the year in Poland.”
Asia sales were down 6.4 percent, “reflecting the continued impact of the slowdown of new apartment sales in the major Chinese markets and changing supplier regulations.”
Kingfisher operates Europe’s most well-known home improvement names, including B&Q, Castorama, Brico Depot and Screwfix.
RONA sees earnings dip in fourth quarter
Canadian home improvement retailer RONA saw earnings dip 19 percent in the fourth quarter, to $30.49 million from $38.11 million last year. Sales for the fourth quarter were $1.087 billion, down 4.6 percent from $1.14 billion in the same period last year.
The Boucherville, Quebec-based company said it has put into place “several new initiatives” to help “revitalize sales and optimize the RONA network.” The company took a one-time charge in the fourth quarter of $1.4 million to upgrade its supply chain.
“In the fourth quarter, market conditions became even softer than they had been earlier in the year, especially in eastern Canada,” said Robert Dutton, CEO and president of RONA.
As part of its efforts to increase sales, at the end of 2007 RONA acquired the specialty hardware, lumber and building materials retailer Dick’s Lumber, which gave RONA three new locations in Vancouver.
The company also said it would sell $30 million in land holdings in 2008 to offset lower consumer spending. The money is part of the company’s cache of funds to build new stores.
Due to RONA’s financial cycle, the full year 2006 had one additional week than the full fiscal year 2007. For the full year, earnings fell to $185.1 million from $190.6 million in 2006. Still, sales for the year rose 5.1 percent to $4.785 billion from $4.55 billion in 2006.
RONA operates approximately 620 stores of various sizes and formats across Canada.
RONA to invest in Reno-Depot banner renovations
Boucherville, Quebec-based RONA reported that it will invest $20 million to renovate stores operating under its Reno-Depot banner.
The renovations, which include an improved retail space and more products and services, will be completed in four Reno-Depot stores by spring 2008. Renovations are planned on six more stores in the second quarter of 2008.
The announcement was made at the celebration marking the completion of major renovation work at the Reno-Depot store in Gatineau, Hull sector, Quebec.
“Today we’re celebrating the renewal of the Reno-Depot in Gatineau based on all the latest trends in customer service and big-box store management. The other stores operating under this banner will also be renovated using the same concept,” said Pierre Dandoy, RONA executive vp-big-box stores.
The Reno-Depot banner has 15 stores in Quebec.
RONA operates a network of 680 franchise, affiliate and corporate stores with more than $6 billion in annual retail sales.