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B&Q owner appoints new HR head amid struggles

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B&Q continues to operate in Sprucefield, Coleraine, Newry, Holywood and Newtownabbey (PA)

B&Q continues to operate in Sprucefield, Coleraine, Newry, Holywood and Newtownabbey (PA)

PA Wire/PA Images

B&Q continues to operate in Sprucefield, Coleraine, Newry, Holywood and Newtownabbey (PA)

B&Q owner Kingfisher has appointed a new head of HR, the latest in a line of changes at the top as the company struggles with falling sales.

Kate Seljeflot joins as chief people officer from Costa Coffee. It comes four months after the company hired a new finance director, and just over half a year since Thierry Garnier took over as chief executive.

November's third quarter results showed that like-for-like sales declined quicker than in the quarter before, at 3.4% down. Mr Garnier admitted at the time there is "much to do" to turn the business around.

B&Q, which has five stores here, said in September that its British business had been facing "ongoing uncertainty" as Brexit continued to weigh on consumer confidence, while this was compounded by disruption from its continuing turnaround programme, according to the firm.

Shares in Kingfisher at the time also fell 2%.

Its results showed that in the UK and Ireland, like-for-like B&Q sales dropped 3.2% over the first half in 2019, although this was partially offset by growth of 5.1% at its Screwfix arm.

Overall UK and Ireland comparable store sales dropped 0.7%, while retail profit for the division was 1.7% lower at £277m.

Meanwhile, the former B&Q on Boucher Road, Belfast, which closed in 2015, will be home to fast-growing UK discount retail The Range, which will open a new 65,000sq ft store and garden centre there.

The popular budget department franchise, which sells home ware, fashion, leisure and garden goods, earned the royal seal of approval last year when the Duchess of Cambridge selected an outlet in Norfolk to buy Christmas presents.

The company told Business Telegraph: "We can confirm that we have exchanged on the old B&Q site in Boucher Road and are hoping to open a store there later in the year."

B&Q continues to operate in Sprucefield, Coleraine, Newry, Holywood and Newtownabbey.

Its former Boucher Road site, including a 150,000 sq ft warehouse, had recently been used by social enterprise South 13.

Belfast Telegraph