By Arek Estall
China is home to the World’s biggest B&Q. At 20,000 square metres, the store is a third bigger than the largest UK store. But it wasn’t always plain sailing in China for the DIY giant.
B&Q first set up shop back in 1999, following a UK based format which focused on DIY products.
But it turned out Chinese consumers didn’t like DIY.
Whereas British customers loved to create their own furniture and fittings, the Chinese customer was different. Research showed that with new found wealth, the Chinese customer was tired of building his own furniture, and wanted to pay someone else to do it.
Whereas many companies may have run scared, B&Q persevered. In response, they developed the “design and decoration service”, which transformed the company’s fortunes in China.
B&Q is now the market leader in China with over 4,000 employees and 39 stores. It’s nearly twice the size of its nearest competitor, and represents a great case study of a brand that despite a rocky road, stuck with its mission and got to grips with a new market.
The moral of the story is that B&Q, like so many other retailers expanding globally, didn’t understand the market they went into. The story has a happy ending, as when the launch stumbled, they analysed the market and adapted their approach.
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