Kingfisher to revamp 'tired' B&Q range

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The Independent Online

Kingfisher, the do-it-yourself giant, has pledged to overhaul its summer ranges in an attempt to reignite sales at its core business, after admitting that its UK subsidiary B&Q had a "weak" start to the year.

Kingfisher, the do-it-yourself giant, has pledged to overhaul its summer ranges in an attempt to reignite sales at its core business, after admitting that its UK subsidiary B&Q had a "weak" start to the year.

The group, which recently reported its first fall in sales in three years at B&Q, admitted it had missed a trick last summer with tired seasonal ranges. It is worried that the late start to spring and early Easter will put people off any DIY until it warms up. Gerry Murphy, the chief executive, said: "I know retailers whine about the weather, but we're in the weather business, the move outdoors is what drives the business."

Despite weakening demand in the UK last year, the group's annual pre-tax profits rose 17.5 per cent to £670.9m. A strong contribution from France, where it owns Castorama and Brico Depot, helped, as did a 39 per cent jump in retail profits from its businesses in countries such as Poland and China. The group also plans to expand its catalogue-based Screwfix business.

Kingfisher is pumping £250m into its pension fund over the next three years, which will wipe out its deficit and lower its tax bill. The group was forced to take an £18m exceptional hit after its former German business, ProMarkt, failed to repay a working capital loan Kingfisher made to its new owners to get the business off its hands two years ago.

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