Shares in Kingfisher, the owner of B&Q, jumped this morning after it announced plans to expand the DIY chain into the Middle East.
Kingfisher said this morning that it has signed a franchise agreement with the Al-Futtaim Group, with the first Middle East stores to launch in Saudi Arabia.
It marks a progression in the London-listed firm’s “Powered by Kingfisher” plan, using its retail brands to grow the business in new markets through partnership agreements.
Shares in Kingfisher, which also owns Screwfix, jumped 4.48 per cent to 286.6p following the announcement.
Thierry Garnier, Kingfisher chief executive, said: “This franchise agreement leverages our ‘Powered by Kingfisher’ plan, and is a great opportunity to expand our business in the attractive Middle Eastern home improvement market with B&Q, one of our most established retail banners, as well as our differentiated owned exclusive brands.
“I am delighted to be working with Al-Futtaim on this step in our plan.”
The first two 50,000sq ft sites will open in autumn this year and will operate under the B&Q banner, with Al-Futtiam Group workers employed to run the in-store and support office functions.
They will offer Kingfisher’s portfolio of own brands, Erbauer, Magnusson and Goodhome, as well as locally and internationally sourced product ranges.
The Al-Futtaim Group operates more than 200 brands across more than 20 countries in the Middle East, Asia and Africa.
It has operated the retail franchises in the Middle East for Marks & Spencer since 1998 and for IKEA since 1991.