B&Q tries to boost its EQ

B&Q owner Kingfisher has warned of tough trading conditions to come, despite posting steady results today. Hence it is planning some big changes to the DIY chain – mainly bringing a softer feel to the stores to attract more women.

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Last Updated: 06 Nov 2012

Kingfisher, whose half-year profits rose 6.2% to £189.6m, is to begin targeting women at B&Q by putting more of a focus on wallpaper, curtains and home furnishings, apparently to make the place less like a builder’s merchant. B&Q says women make up around half of its custom already, drawn perhaps by the current fashion for home improvement. You could therefore argue that the store's formula hardly needs much fixing in that regard.

Indeed, you can’t help wondering how this will sit with the more hirsute half of B&Q’s customers. To the men, making B&Q less like a builder’s merchant may well be the DIY equivalent of wiping real ales off the pub blackboard and replacing them with alco-pops.

Kingfisher has also tweaked B&Q’s traditional slogan. In a subtle move, ‘You can do it’ has become ‘Let’s do it’, which is apparently more female-friendly. You can see where they’re coming from: ‘Let’s do it’ suggests pulling together to achieve a goal, targeting women’s superior emotional intelligence; ‘You can do it’, on the other hand, tapped right into men’s primeval need to prove how adept they are at single-handedly crafting things from other things, and preferably without reading the instructions.

Still, ‘Let’s do it’ does sound slightly masculine, albeit more like the impatient urging of a libidinous teen. This isn’t helped by the music accompanying the TV ad – a version of ‘Let’s do it, let’s fall in love’. B&Q has denied any double entendre. Which, for a shop that stocks nuts, nipples, rods and flange, is probably very wise.

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