B&Q owner Kingfisher creates jobs in East Anglia

B&Q owner Kingfisher is set to create new jobs across the region and the UK as it launches new Screwfix stores and converts more former Focus stores to B&Q outlets.

Kingfisher said yesterday that it was planning to create more than 1,200 jobs by expanding trade supply arm Screwfix.

At the same time, it is creating 230 jobs through converting 29 former Focus stores, including more than 120 jobs across East Anglia.

Yesterday, Kingfisher said its half-year profits had risen by 24% to �439million.

A spokesperson said the company did not yet know where the new Screwfix stores will be located, as it would depend on the right sites becoming available.

However, it has already opened a former Focus store in Haverhill as a B&Q, creating 32 jobs, and has five such stores now trading. It is due to open another former Focus store in Sudbury as a B&Q, employing 22 staff, on October 8.

A Thetford store, with 32 posts, will be launched on September 24, and a further store in Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire on the same date, and one at Fakenham in Norfolk, employing 18, on September 22.

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Ian Cheshire, Kingfisher’s chief executive, said the decision to accelerate its opening programme followed a successful trial of new format Screwfix outlets, which are almost half the size of existing stores.

Screwfix’s profits rose by 25% to �17m in the six months to July 30, helping UK profits overall rise by 6.1% to �182m despite the tough market for all retailers.

B&Q, which has 335 stores, increased profits by 4.5% to �165m through keeping control of costs and selling more higher margin products.

UK and Ireland sales fell by 1% overall to �2.3billion, with B&Q revenues affected by a large stock clearance at rival Focus when it went into administration. It was also hit by the poor summer wearther, which affected garden and outdoor product sales.

Profits overall for the group were well ahead of market expectations and were helped by a very strong half from Castorama and Brico in France, where profits jumped by 26% to �201m.