Kingfisher expands to Russia

Published:  12 September, 2011

LONDON: Kingfisher, owner of B&Q, which makes two-thirds of its profits overseas, will unveil a plan to open nine new stores in Russia, expanding its Castorama shops as far east as Ekaterinburg.

Ian Cheshire, chief executive, is one of the businessmen accompanying the prime minister, David Cameron on his trip to Moscow. Kingfisher already operates 17 Castorama home improvement stores in Russia, with the first one opening in 2006. Kingfisher was originally going to use the B&Q brand – the shop it uses in China – but there is no 'Q' in the Cyrillic alphabet.

Mr Cheshire said: "Russia represents a major opportunity for Kingfisher. Our trading performance there has been encouraging and we look forward to opening these nine new Castorama stores and many more in the future."

Russia's economy has grown faster than the rest of with GDP up by 3.7% year-to-year basis in the first six months of 2011. Last year Kingfisher's sales in Russia grew by 39% to £240m and its Russian stores could match those in Poland that generate sales of £1bn. Kingfisher is one of a number of British retailers in Russia, including Burberry and Next, taking advantage of the increasing wealth of the country's middle classes.

This week City analysts expect Kingfisher to report half-year profits on Thursday of £409m, up 18% on 2010, despite the consumer squeeze in the UK. Kingfisher's first half has been a tale of two countries, with a strong performance in France offsetting a weak one in the UK.

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