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B&Q owner to shut 15 more stores as Kingfisher’s profits plunge 52 PERCENT

The group recorded a 52.8 percent plunge in pre-tax profits to £322 million for the year to January 31, in what marks the latest spate of unwelcome news for the struggling UK high street. Of the 15 stores on the target list, Kingfisher told Express.co.uk that these include Of the 11 in France, with the rest across Romania and B&Q in the UK. On top of this, the company will also be shutting all 19 Screwfix outlets in Germany, leaving it with just an online presence for the brand in that country. Kingfisher has also announced it will be hiring a new chief executive.  

The group has not yet set a date for the departure of current boss Veronique Laury and confirmed she will remain in post until a successor has been appointed.

Ms Laury has faced increasing pressure after the group has suffered declining profits and sales despite her efforts under a five-year transformation plan launched in 2016.

She said: “Leading the transformation has been so exciting but also very challenging.

“As the transformation approaches its final year, I believe it is right for someone else to lead the next phase of the One Kingfisher journey.”

The group’s full-year results showed B&Q sales dropped 3 percent on a like-for-like basis over the year, while Screwfix remained the star performer with a 4.1 percent rise in comparable sales.

Kingfisher said it will continue to roll out Screwfix stores in the UK and has increased its target to around 800 outlets, up from 700 previously, with aims to open shops in Ireland from this year.

The UK high street has witnessed several store closures in recent years as retailers battle to keep up with the demand of online sales.

Earlier this month, supermarket chain Waitrose announced it was closing five branches across the UK.

The closures will affect 440 jobs across the UK.

Music retailer HMV has also been hit by plunging sales, with the CD and DVD giant announcing the closure of 27 stores after being bought out of administration by Canadian retailer Sunrise Records.

Back in December, Laura Ashley announced it will shut around 40 stores, while Sports Direct report a 27 percent fall in half-year profits.

New Look, Toys ‘R’ Us, Maplin and Marks and Spencer also announced major closures in towns across the country in 2018.

Several others – including Superdry, Carpetright and Card Factory – have all issued profit warnings.

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