B&Q shifts marketing focus as it aims to be market leading not just market leader

B&Q is ‘revisiting’ how and where it spends its marketing budget as it looks to reposition the brand as market leading, not just a market leader, to take advantage of improvements in the housing market and rising consumer confidence.

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B&Q is aiming to re-energise its stores with product category revamps

The Kingfisher owned business reported weak sales growth at its UK business earlier today (15 March), with sales at stores open for more than a year up 0.1 per cent in the 12 months to 1 February and total sales increasing by 0.4 per cent. Across the Kingfisher UK business, which includes the Screwfix brand, like-for-like sales rose 1.1 per cent and total sales 2.7 per cent.

B&Q results have suffered as poor weather and a decline in the home improvement market caused by the economic downturn hit sales. However, B&Q UK chief executive Kevin O’Byrne, who was appointed late last year, believes there is an opportunity to improve its performance in 2014.

Speaking at an event with analysts this morning he said: “B&Q is a market leader but has not been leading the market. We need to start punching our weight.”

B&Q is focused on three key areas to boost its sales: “re-energised” pricing messages, stores and marketing. O’Byrne says the retailer is going “back to basics” in its marketing strategy, reviewing the frequency of its national press spend to fund greater investment in digital marketing.

It is also pulling out of sponsorships in order to fund a monthly leaflet that it will deliver to customers either directly to their homes or via the press, which highlights its value, range authority and seasonal products.

“We are revisiting how and where we spend our marketing. It doesn’t need to be clever it needs to be effective. The point is to drive footfall… and put a trading drumbeat into the business,” says O’Byrne.

In stores, B&Q is adopting a “clearer and simpler” pricing message, while promotions will be “more impactful”, with larger displays and more stock available. Product categories are also being revamped to make the shopping journey “more inspirational” – for example with a new mixing desk in its paint business – and encourage larger basket sizes.

Online is also a focus, with B&Q planning a relaunch of its website DIY.com and its click, pay and collect service over the summer after O’Byrne admitted the business was “not where we’d like it to be right now”. B&Q is also “rethinking” what it does with loyalty, looking to consolidate its programmes so it has one scheme for its retail business and another for trade.

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