LONDON- British retailer Kingfisher is taking its B&Q business to the Middle East, first opening home improvement stores in Saudi Arabia after signing a franchise deal with Al-Futtaim Group.
Kingfisher, which also trades as Screwfix in Britain and Castorama and Brico Depot in France, plans to grow the business in new regions through partnership agreements.
It said on Tuesday the stores in Saudi will operate under the B&Q banner, with the first two expected to launch in autumn this year, supported by an e-commerce service.
The stores and support office functions will be fully operated and staffed by the Al-Futtaim Group.
The Al-Futtaim Group trades over 200 brands across more than 20 countries in the Middle East, Asia and Africa. Its franchise partners include Marks & Spencer and IKEA.
Kingfisher has performed well during the COVID-19 pandemic, with many people rediscovering do-it-yourself as they spend more time at home, have fewer leisure options and travel less.
Shares in the group were up 4.6% at 1047 GMT, extending year-on-year gains to 76%.
(Reporting by James Davey; Editing by Alexander Smith) ((firstname.lastname@example.org))