Kingfisher boss to step down, profits fall

Kingfisher’s group chief executive is stepping down it was announced yesterday as the B&Q owner reported a fall in profits for the first half of 2014. Sir Ian Cheshire will […]

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By Vicky Ellis

Kingfisher’s group chief executive is stepping down it was announced yesterday as the B&Q owner reported a fall in profits for the first half of 2014.

Sir Ian Cheshire will make way for Véronique Laury who currently heads another of the DIY retailer’s branches, Castorama France.

The changeover is due before the end of the financial year.

Although Kingfisher’s half year sales were up 0.9%, their pre-tax profits were down to £364 million.

This was partly pinned on an unfavourable exchange rate for money made outside of the UK.

In the UK & Ireland, sales were up 6.6% while retail profit was up 17.7%, put down to schemes to “re-energise B&Q” plus better demand for trade products as housing construction and activity improved.

Sir Ian Cheshire said: “This was a difficult first half with demand in our largest and most significant market, France, remaining particularly weak with a sharp market downturn experienced in our second quarter.”

Citing “flat profits” in France as showing a “resilient performance despite the difficult backdrop”, he said conditions in the UK were “more favourable” with better weather and “encouraging signs” in the smaller tradesman market.