Wednesday 7 December 2016

Kingfisher showcases new B&Q IT system in Dublin

Published 10/11/2015 | 02:30

Kingfisher owns the retailer B&Q
Kingfisher owns the retailer B&Q

B&Q OWNER Kingfisher is jetting analysts and investors into Dublin today as it showcases a new IT platform that's being tested in Ireland.

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Kingfisher, headed by Veronique Laury, said the visit in the capital will include a series of presentations and detail on its new company-wide unified SAP IT platform, which is due to be rolled out across the business.

The IT pilot programme for the new system began at B&Q Ireland in July. The company will also give investors and analysts a number of in-store demonstrations highlighting some of the improved functionality for staff and customers.

The B&Q DIY chain has had mixed fortunes in Ireland, having put the chain here into examinership back in January 2013 as the downturn gripped the country.

Turnover at its Irish arm hit a high of €124m in 2009, but had fallen 24pc to €94m in the financial year that ended in January 2012.

It initially planned to close outlets in Athone and Waterford, but ultimately decided to keep the Athlone premises open.

Kingfisher had set aside £21m (then €25m) to cover the restructuring of its Irish business. It included a €2.4m equity investment in the unit.

The latest set of publicly available accounts for the Irish division, which cover the 12 months to February 2014, show that it made a €1.4m loss that period compared to a €26m loss the prior financial year. Turnover fell to €76.8m from €83.9m.

Kingfisher's group turnover was just under £11bn in its last financial year, when it made a £675m pre-tax profit.

Kingfisher has been pursuing its 'One' strategy which aims to realign and reorganise the group. The revamped IT system is part of that strategy.

Staff at B&Q stores in Ireland claim that the new system has transformed how staff interact with customers in its outlets here. They say it now provides real-time stock visibility and other benefits. Staff use new portable handsets to carry out a number of functions in-store that were previously time-consuming and laborious.

Shares in Kingfisher were trading at £4.38 in April 2014, and fell to £2.91 last November. They're currently at £3.56.

Irish Independent

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