DIY retail group Kingfisher has today provided an update on the progress it has made with its Creating the Leader company growth initiative – and technology investment has played a large role.

In its half-year trading statement, published today (11 September), the B&Q owner detailed the moves it has made over the last six months to push the business forward and position it for success in the years ahead. Plans for further innovative services in the coming six months, such as the launch of click, pay & collect online at B&Q, were also announced.

Alongside the launch of various marketing campaigns and new product offerings for its range of brands across Europe and Asia, the six months to 3 August saw a number of changes made to improve eCommerce performance and fulfilment services.

Development included improved navigation and search functionality for its home improvement website diy.com, as well as website upgrades in Turkey and Brico Dépôt France and the launch of a click & collect pilot in Castorama France.

Other achievements in the first half of the financial year included the extension of the UK website to over 20 European countries, with deliveries fulfilled from the UK.

Between now and the end of Kingfisher’s financial year, it will be aiming to launch upgraded websites in Poland, Spain and China, as well as a pilot click & collect service in Turkey. Upgrades to distribution and logistics capability in Poland, Spain and Turkey are also part of the plan.

Click here to see the full update on Kingfisher’s Creating the Leader strategy.

As for the first-half results, adjusted pre-tax profit was £365 million, which represented a decline of 1.6% year on year. Sales were up 4.3% to £5.72 billion, although they were slightly down (0.8%) when measured on a like-for-like basis.

Ian Cheshire, CEO of the group, which has more than 1,000 stores across Europe and Asia, said: “Underlying consumer confidence remains weak in our major markets, so we continue to focus hard on our self-help initiatives to drive growth, margin and cost efficiencies.

“Looking ahead, we remain ready to capitalise on any improvement in conditions or opportunities as they arise, including the potential pick up in the UK housing market. In the meantime, our self-help plan, Creating the Leader, continues to progress well, including the acquisition of 15 stores in Romania, our first new country entry in seven years.”