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
Life and Style
love + sex
A propaganda video shows Isis forces near Tikrit
voicesAdam Walker: The Koran has violent passages, but it also has others that explicitly tells us how to interpret them
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: Graduate Application Support Analyst

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Reach Volunteering: External Finance Trustee Needed!

Voluntary post, reasonable expenses reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Would you ...

Christine McCleave: FP&A Analyst

£36,000 - £40,000: Christine McCleave: Are you looking for a new opportunity a...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £40,000

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all