Kingfisher Plc, Comet's parent company, has freed up £1 billion fornd number of outlets. acquisitions following its results for the year ending 31 January, which revealed a profit of over £520 million.
Comet had a sluggish second half of the year but still managed to notch up a £13 million profit, which stemmed from successful integration of Norweb stores. Comet's market share increased from 10.4 to 11.7 per cent.
Comet corporate communications manager Sandie Skevington revealed that at a meeting which followed the results, it was confirmed that part of the £1 billion had been earmarked for investment in Comet. The funds will be used to modernise and open more Comet stores in the UK.
Another area that will benefit is the Kingfisher IT retail project, IT Works, being piloted in Reading. If successful, the store, aimed at the SME market, will roll out nationally within six months.
Comet will also be able to establish its home delivery project. 'We will roll out home delivery after the success of the two pilot projects,' said Skevington.
However, analysts have pointed to problems for Kingfisher over the coming year. 'It is a very competitive market and the big boys are consolidating.
With the price of PCs dropping as quickly as they are, the only ones that can survive are those that are big. At the moment, companies have to be very careful about acquisitions. With the potential problems of EMU and year 2000, an acquisition with the subsequent IT alignment could be very difficult,' said James Foulk, research analyst at IDC.
Shares in Kingfisher climbed by 10.5p to 1150.5p on 19 March.
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