Kingfisher, owner of B&Q, is discussing with retailers about sub-letting space in branches to cut its rent bill.

Ian Cheshire, Kingfisher chief executive, said: “If you started with a blank sheet of paper, you could probably take the same amount of trade in 20 percent less stores.” All 350 B&Q branches are profitable, he said, but he has “radical” ideas to reduce rent.

He continued: “We are second only to Tesco in terms of space in the UK.”

B&Q has already halved one store with supermarket chain Asda taking the rest of the space. Plans are in place to reduce another three stores in a similar way, with a further branch earmarked for closure.

The move came as Kingfisher announced profits tumbled more than 13 percent to £691m last year. B&Q’s profits crashed nearly 21 pecent to £187m, dragged down by last year’s shocking weather and losses in its Irish stores.