B&Q owner plans plant business review

Poor trading results for first half of the year prompt B&Q owner to review plant business and explore head office job cuts.

Kingfisher is to review the plant side of B&Q's business following poor sales - image: B&Q
Kingfisher is to review the plant side of B&Q's business following poor sales - image: B&Q

Kingfisher, the owner of DIY/garden centre chain B&Q, is planning a review of the plants side of the business as hundreds of head office redundancies are expected after poor first half results.

Kingfisher pre-tax profit fell 15 per cent to £371m, with plants down 20 per cent and seasonal products overall down £30m for six months to 28 July in a spring and summer of record rainfall.

Chief executive Ian Cheshire said: "It leads us to think about the weather sensitivity of the business - should we shift the model away from weather-driven categories?

"B&Q starts from a position of being the number one garden centre by volume. It's a footfall driver. Our challenge is to adjust the mix so it's less susceptible."

B&Q had to discard millions of pounds worth of reserves that it did not take this year. Kingfisher saw pre-tax profit fall from £438m to £364m for the first six months of the year. Total sales fell from £5.6bn to £5.4bn. B&Q profits slid 24 per cent to £125m.

B&Q is to consult its 1,200 staff at its Southampton headquarters about redundancies. Horticulture category managers are believed to be reapplying for their jobs. A B&Q representative said: "Back in June, we announced a realignment of board responsibilities and that there would be a realignment of roles behind that. This process is ongoing."

Garden writer Peter Seabrook said: "Whenever big multiple retailers go heavily into bedding they have to be prepared for losses."

WD Smith director Mike Smith said when he supplied the multiples with bedding they typically overestimated what they required by 20 per cent, leaving growers with stock they had to dump on the market.

"We grew 20 per cent less than they suggested so as not to have wastage. B&Q has to sound like it is making these noises to its shareholders and is going to have to be more cautious on pre-orders."

He added: "But sales at the moment for us are slightly better than I'd imagine for this time of year so there is still a market out there when the weather is good, so if they're not careful B&Q might not have enough for next year."

Trading figures Homebase sales also fall

Homebase's like-for-like sales fell 3.7 per cent in the second quarter of 2012, with sales down 3.9 per cent to £366m.

The group said seasonal sales were impacted by poor weather and market conditions continued to be challenging. Sales in other categories were "broadly flat". Results were helped by increased seasonal stock clearance.

Terry Duddy, chief executive at Homebase owner Home Retail Group, said: "Seasonal product sales continued to be adversely impacted by the poor weather conditions. While we continue to plan cautiously, we approach our peak trading period in good operational shape."

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Read These Next



The range of colours and flowering times makes for cheerful and economic displays, Miranda Kimberley reports.

What can growers do to reduce their use of plastics?

What can growers do to reduce their use of plastics?

Growers are waking up to the push towards cutting plastic use and are increasingly looking for substitutes and alternative methods.

What does the future hold for online garden retail sales?

What does the future hold for online garden retail sales?

The online garden centre market is often cited as a great growth opportunity for garden centres, but how well are bricks-and-mortar retailers tackling the internet generation?

Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs

Horticulture Week Top 100 GARDEN CENTRES 2017

See our exclusive ranking of garden centre performance by annual turnover. 

Garden Centre Prices

Peter Seabrook

Inspiration and insight from travels around the horticultural world

Read more Peter Seabrook articles

Neville Stein

Business advice from Neville Stein, MD of business consultancy Ovation

Read latest articles


Free to subscribers, the essential guide for professional plant buyers

Download your copy