Kingfisher plc (LSE: KGF) is a multinational retailer headquartered in London, United Kingdom. It is the largest home improvement retailer in Europe and the third-largest in the world (behind The Home Depot and Lowe's). It has around 840 stores in eight countries across Europe and Asia and its brands include B&Q, Castorama, Brico Dépôt and Screwfix.
It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.
Kingfisher was founded in 1982 by the buyout of the British Woolworths chain by Paternoster Stores Ltd. which later changed its name to Woolworth Holdings plc. The Company expanded through subsequent acquisitions of companies such as B&Q, Superdrug and Comet. It was led from 1984 (until his retirement in 2002) by Sir Geoffrey Mulcahy, who became renowned for his taciturn public persona, lengthy decision-making and love of sailing. Largely through his influence, Kingfisher became the major sponsor of British sailor Dame Ellen MacArthur. It was renamed Kingfisher plc in 1989.
Further acquisitions of European companies such as Castorama, BUT S.A. and Wegert enabled the Company to grow to become the largest general retail business in the UK. In 1999, Kingfisher attempted a takeover of Asda, one of the UK's largest supermarket chains, only to be beaten by Wal-Mart. Coupled with an acrimonious battle for control of Castorama, the resultant share price pressure forced the sale and demerger of several parts of the Company by 2001, including Woolworths (forming the Woolworths Group), and the demerger of the electricals business to form Kesa Electricals in 2003 - causing the Company to refocus entirely around DIY.
The Company was led by Gerry Murphy from 2002 until 2008.
In January 2008 Kingfisher appointed Ian Cheshire as Group Chief Executive. Ian was formerly B&Q's Chief Executive; this role was taken over in April 2009 by Euan Sutherland, who also has the role of Chief Executive of the UK Division of Kingfisher.