B&Q sublets store to Asda

Published:  18 October, 2012

LONDON: B&Q has split its 11,000sqm store in Belvedere, south London and sublet half the floor area to Asda for one of its smaller format stores.

It is the first time B&Q has halved a store,  a process described by B&Q chief executive Martyn Phillips as "notoriously difficult to do."

"We're seeing how much money we can take with less space. It's about [reducing] densities, not taking categories out," he says.

Last month group chief executive of B&Q owner Kingfisher Ian Cheshire said B&Q is reviewing property in light of growing online sales.

B&Q is also revamping its website under new customer director Steve Robinson, the former boss of M&M Direct and Tesco.com who was hired this year.

The retailer aims for online sales to account for 10% of overall sales within the next 3-5 years. Currently web sales account for "virtually next to nothing" he says.

Next year B&Q will trial kiosks and tablets in store as part of the omnichannel strategy. In January it will unveil an App for its recently launched B&Q Club an email-based promotions initiative launched in recent weeks that offers customers relevant deals.

Sister chain Screwfix, a trade business based on a strong multichannel model, is sharing best practice with B&Q through a three-year initiative called Project Darwin - which is already half way through - and Kingfisher is investing about £60-£65m in a new web platform, which is being designed so that it can eventually be used across the group.

B&Q has in recent weeks begun using the Screwfix distribution facility to fulfil its next day delivery orders.

"DIY.com in Q3 will look and feel a bit different," said Mr Robinson. "We'll be piggybacking on Screwfix's facility."

Mr Phillips said store expansion is not a priority for B&Q, adding that while there are "15-20 stores we'd like to be in, we want to get the space we've got now working better".

B&Q warehouse sold for £3.6m

A warehouse unit occupied by B&Q in Salford has been bought for £3.63m by property and land investment group Himor. The single storey store in Swinton covers just under 3,000sqm with an external garden centre on a 1 hectare site. The unit is let to B&Q on a 35-year lease and sits adjacent to Swinton Shopping Centre with occupiers such as Morrisons, Aldi and Matalan nearby. Current annual rent is £336,000, equating to £10.54/sqft.

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