Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 148,455 pages of information and 233,880 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.


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1982 Kingfisher was founded by the buyout of the British Woolworths chain by Paternoster Stores Ltd. which later changed its name to Woolworth Holdings plc.

The Company expanded through subsequent acquisitions of companies such as B&Q, Superdrug and Comet.

1989 It was renamed Kingfisher plc

Further acquisitions of European companies such as Castorama, BUT S.A. and Wegert enabled the Company to grow to become the largest general retail business in the UK.

In 1999, Kingfisher attempted a takeover of Asda, one of the UK's largest supermarket chains, only to be beaten by Wal-Mart.

Coupled with an acrimonious battle for control of Castorama, the resultant share price pressure forced the sale and demerger of several parts of the Company by 2001, including Woolworths (forming the Woolworths Group), and the de-merger of the electricals business to form Kesa Electricals in 2003 – causing the Company to refocus entirely around DIY

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