Thursday 18 March 1999
Sir Geoff, who can apparently speak quite passable French, went all shy and could only manage "bonjour" before launching straight into English. Then the translator had to be replaced half way through after "having a bit of trouble with some of the financials." Depreciation? Qu'est-ce que c'est? Goodwill and intangible assets? Ooh la la.
Still, the underlying message was clear. Kingfisher has nailed its colours to the mast as a European force and is some way ahead of most of its UK rivals in this regard. More than 40 per cent of its sales are now outside Britain. And with Darty electricals of France and now Castorama DIY also part of the stable, Kingfisher is a continental force. When you add the Wegert electricals businesses in Germany, BUT electricals and furniture in France, and the Nomi DIY operation in Poland, it looks even more impressive.
The thinking behind this strategy seems fair enough. With lower inflation and the euro affecting pricing power, the buying muscle that comes from scale may be all. If Kingfisher can successfully integrate Castorama and B&Q, it will also be able to establish a low-cost barrier to entry and protect its European market from American invaders.
So far this has worked in DIY in Britain, where the launch of the B&Q Warehouse format has held the US Home Depot invasion at bay. So perhaps Sir Geoff's new idea - an expanded Woolworths called Big W - is really a protection policy against the long-rumoured UK debut of another US giant, the mighty Wal-Mart. It is, you might say, a case of Do it Yourself before it is done unto you.
- 1 I've been called an abusive and dangerous parent, when all I did was listen to my transgender child
- 2 Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
- 3 Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
- 4 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 5 Ian Brady: Moors murderer announces his support for Ukip and the SNP
Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
Russian hack of President Obama's emails worse than previously admitted
Ian Brady: Moors murderer announces his support for Ukip and the SNP
UK weather: Britain braced for snow as arctic air mass moves in
Nepal earthquake: US Pastor Tony Miano sparks outcry by suggesting Nepalis should not rebuild their 'pagan shrines'
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
iJobs Money & Business
£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...
£50000 - £55000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Business Analyst - Financial Service...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: At SThree, we like to be differe...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Did you know? SThree is the o...