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.
As anti-Semitic attacks rise, Grant Feller re-evaluates his identity
Savoury patisserie is a thing now
Meet the primary school where every day is National Poetry Day
Kirstie Allsopp has waded into the female fertility debate again
...and it wasn't caused by an asteroid crash, as first thought
Gillian Anderson lays into gender disparity in Hollywood
Striker ignored Brendan Rodger's request to applaud audience
- 1 Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto buy a stake in Reddit as A-list invests $50m
- 2 Prince held a Facebook Q&A and this is the only question he answered...
- 3 35,000 walrus gather on north-west Alaska beach 'for a rest'
- 4 Brad Pitt, on the moment he completely lost his temper with Clint Eastwood's son
- 5 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
Stella McCartney apologises over controversial 'very ill' model picture on Instagram
Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto buy a stake in Reddit as A-list invests $50m
Prince held a Facebook Q&A and this is the only question he answered...
Brad Pitt, on the moment he completely lost his temper with Clint Eastwood's son
Cheryl Cole named 'the most dangerous celebrity' on the internet
Former Tory donor Arron Banks ups his Ukip donation to £1million following William Hague 'nobody' comment
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
The Osborne Ultimatum: Chancellor’s benefits freeze bombshell will affect ten million households
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
- < Previous
- Next >
iJobs Money & Business
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Real Staffing are currently lo...
NEGOTIABLE: Austen Lloyd: TRUST ACCOUNTANT - KENTIf you are a Chartered Accou...
£18000 - £20000 per annum + OTE £30000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 b...
Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - Law Costs Draftsperson - NICHE...