Belfast Telegraph

DIY chain in campaign to attract female customers

By Karen Attwood

Kingfisher yesterday unveiled its strategy for a revamped B&Q, which will give the DIY chain a more stylish feel as it tries to appeal to women home-improvers.

Some 60 per cent of B&Q's range will be updated while premium home furnishing brands will be introduced such as Fried Earth paint and Monsoon homeware.

Eight hundred staff have been put through a "boot camp", where they were shown how to laminate a floor or how to mix and match colours so that they will be able to give better advice to customers.

The company launched a new television advertisement on Wednesday night which features the caption Let's Do It, taken from the Cole Porter song Let's Do it, Let's Fall in Love which accompanies the ad. This is instead of B& Q's usual 'You can do it', signalling its new approach as it tries to appeal to those who prefer to get workman in to Do It For Me instead of doing it themselves.

Chief executive Gerry Murphy said this was the " most ambitious renewal programme in B&Q's history". "The new ranges will be a more stylish product but at B&Q prices," he added. But while the company will introduce soft furnishings and colourful wallpaper, B&Q will also continue to cater for the traditional DIYer, he said.

Details of the multimillion- pound revamp came as Kingfisher reported a 6.2 per cent rise in adjusted pre-tax profits to £189.6m while sales rose 9.8 per cent to £4.8bn. Like-for-like sales increased 4.3 per cent in the 26 weeks to 4 August.

Mr Murphy said that prospects were difficult to call, given the uncertainty in the financial and housing markets. But he said it is "a safe bet the next six months will be tougher than the last six months".

Kingfisher continues to do well internationally, which represents more than half of all sales. In Poland, sales jumped 42 per cent to £331m and in China by 14 per cent to £220m.Keith Bowman, Equity Analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers, called this a "commendable performance, set against the dual headwinds of rising European interest rates and unseasonal summer weather".

Belfast Telegraph