Home improvement brand Kingfisher has closed all of its Castorama and Brico Dépôt stores across France until 14 April.
All 28 stores in Spain have also closed until and including Sunday 29 March, following a 2-week state of emergency.
Kingfisher follows government advice
The French government closed all non-essential places used by the public, effective from midnight on Sunday 15 March. So, all 221 of Kingfisher’s Castorama and Brico Dépôt stores in France have closed until and including Tuesday 14 April.
The move comes as the coronavirus outbreak continues to cause upheaval and disruption around the world.
The FTSE-listed company, though said that its UK brands, B&Q and Screwfix, are to remain open at this current time.
Kingfisher said there is significant uncertainty on sales and demand as the outbreak spreads, and as central governments and businesses take action to contain and delay its impact.
The company said it was working to mitigate the implications of these closures, including via alternative routes to continue serving customers (e.g. via click & collect or home delivery).
Kingfisher’s remaining 1,100+ stores across the United Kingdom, Ireland, Poland, Romania, Portugal and Russia remain open. Considering the situation however, it could be likely that all of the remaining stores will need to outsource health and safety to experts the likes of Sentient, so that regular health & safety audits are performed to remain compliant as well as ensure maximum safety to all employees and customers.
“We are committed to supporting local authorities and governments to limit the spread of the virus; and the health and safety of our colleagues and customers remains our top priority”, Thierry Garnier, CEO of Kingfisher said: .
“Our teams are also evaluating the best ways to satisfy emergency needs in our markets, particularly for electricity, heating and plumbing.
“While significant uncertainty exists around the impact of COVID-19, we are taking immediate and significant measures to contain our costs and protect our financial position.
“We have a strong balance sheet, with significant liquidity headroom and limited financial debt.” Thanks to the relaxation of tax (to know more, see here) rules, people have been feeling quite relieved during this time.
Kingfisher’s shares plunged more than 21% on Monday to 1.07. The shares have now fallen more than 50% since 17 February this year.