Kingfisher puts PR under review

Kingfisher, owner of B&Q, Superdrug, Woolworths and Comet, is reviewing its public affairs account, currently held by AS Biss.

Kingfisher, owner of B&Q, Superdrug, Woolworths and Comet, is

reviewing its public affairs account, currently held by AS Biss.



The move follows the arrival of corporate affairs director Mike Hingston

at the beginning of the year. Hingston returned from retirement in

France to take up the Kingfisher job.



Hingston founded Paragon Communications, one of the most successful

agencies of the 1980s, which he later sold to Shandwick.



APCO, AS Biss, Charles Barker BSMG, the Public Policy Unit and

Westminster Strategy are all shortlisted for the account. A decision is

expected by the end of the month.



AS Biss inherited the Kingfisher account from Ian Greer Associates. The

agency’s chairman, Adele Biss, founded AS Biss with managing director

Jeremy Sweeney, who left IGA when the business collapsed following

1994’s cash for questions scandal.



Kingfisher already works with APCO’s Brussels office, which is retained

to handle pan-European public affairs.



The group, which runs 1,500 stores in the UK, has been expanding in

Europe.



Last year’s merger of B&Q with French DIY chain Castorama means

Kingfisher is Europe’s largest DIY retailer and market leader in the UK

and France.



The group already owns French electrical retailer Darty, and is Europe’s

second largest electrical retailer. It is considering further expansion

in Europe this year.



The group’s last half-yearly results, in September 1998, showed profits

were up 43.3 per cent to pounds 226.3 million, and group sales were up

8.9 per cent to pounds 3.01 billion.



Kingfisher retains Financial Dynamics to handle its financial PR.



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