Kingfisher to trial large super-Woolworths store

KINGFISHER, the Woolworths-to-B&Q retail group, yesterday played down concerns that Wal-Mart, the US retail giant, might invade the UK market while unveiling plans for a large-scale store format of its own.

Kingfisher plans to open a trial large-scale Woolworths store in Edinburgh in June. Called Big W, it will include homewares, entertainment products and children's clothing as well as extra lines taken from other Kingfisher formats, such as electricals and health and beauty products.

Peacocks, the discount clothing retailer, will provide a range of adult fashions. Burger King will run a fast food outlet at the store.

A further two or three Big Ws are planned, although the company said it would monitor progress before pressing ahead with further expansion.

The Kingfisher chief executive, Sir Geoff Mulcahy, denied he was trying to create a Wal-Mart format in the UK, pointing out that Big W would not sell supermarket groceries.

"Wal-Mart is just one of a number of companies we look at around the world as a way of monitoring best practice," he said.

The comments came as Kingfisher announced a 15.3 per cent rise in underlying profits to pounds 830m in the year to January.

Sir Geoff said 1998 had been a landmark year for the group, capped by the merger of its B&Q do-it-yourself chain with Castorama of France in December. Kingfisher said the deal signalled that it was now a European retail group, with 40 per cent of its sales outside the UK. Two of its divisions - electricals and DIY - are now headquartered in France, Sir Geoff added.

Kingfisher also announced plans to open 100 new stores this year, creating 4,800 new jobs. This includes the group's first store in China, which will be a B&Q in Shanghai. Four branches of B&Q have been opened in Taiwan.

Sir Geoff played down speculation that the company was looking out for a deal in Germany, saying it was concentrating on developing the businesses it had and on integrating Castorama. However, analysts still feel the group would like an electrical business in Germany to add to its Wegert chain.

The full-year group figures only included a one-month contribution from Castorama. B&Q was the best performer with profits up by 16 per cent and like-for-like sales up by over 5 per cent. However, Comet had a tougher time with profits flat and like-for-like sales marginally lower. Same- store sales across the company were up by 4.9 per cent.

The shares closed 17p lower at 793p.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Property
pets
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
Sport
football
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Senior SEO Executive

£24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior SEO Executive is requi...

Recruitment Genius: Online Customer Service Administrator

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Online customer Service Admi...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Marketing Executive

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This global, industry leading, ...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk