Kingfisher plc (LON:KGF), the international home improvement retailer, has announced that it has acquired NeedHelp, one of Europe’s leading home improvement services marketplaces, for a total cash consideration of c.€10 million. As part of the transaction, Guillaume de Kergariou, the founder of NeedHelp, has reinvested proceeds from the sale in a 20% interest in the business, resulting in Kingfisher owning 80%.
NeedHelp (www.needhelp.com) is an innovative B2B2C(1) online platform that connects customers who need home improvement help, either in-store or online, with vetted professional tradespeople and other skilled experts. The acquisition represents an important step forward for one of Kingfisher’s key priorities under its recently announced ‘Powered by Kingfisher’ strategy: to build a mobile-first and service-orientated customer experience.
NeedHelp was founded in France in 2014 by Guillaume de Kergariou, who will continue as CEO to lead the team and grow the business. While most of its business is currently in France, NeedHelp also operates in Switzerland and has recently expanded into Germany, Belgium, Austria, and the Netherlands. Through its open architecture, NeedHelp already provides its services to customers in more than 500 stores including Kingfisher’s French businesses, Castorama and Brico Dépôt, as well as to a growing number of leading home improvement retailers.
NeedHelp is growing rapidly. The company has tripled its GMV(2) and revenue every year since launch. In 2020 the number of jobs completed through its platform is set to reach 58,000. With more people seeking to improve their homes since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the demand for NeedHelp has accelerated with its monthly revenue doubling after the first lockdown period.
NeedHelp’s strong growth is being driven by its highly differentiated proposition:
· It provides customers with service options from a range of channels including retail partners’ stores, retail partners’ e-commerce sites, and from its own site.
· Unlike other service marketplaces which aim to provide a directory of tradespeople or ‘jobbers’, NeedHelp focuses on the specialist skills needed for home improvement. The most popular home improvement projects offered via NeedHelp are kitchen installations, painting, flooring and bathroom renovations. Other jobs undertaken include gardening, furniture assembly and house or furniture moving.
· It operates a data-driven end-to-end platform that manages all bookings, online payments, vetting processes, and rating of tradespeople. This delivers both confidence to customers and added value to tradespeople, including insurance, professional business set-up support and assistance with tax returns. Customer satisfaction is high, with an average rating of 4.85 out of 5(3).
Along with developing NeedHelp’s business in Europe with existing and new retail partners, Kingfisher also plans to roll out the platform in the UK and Poland. In the UK, NeedHelp will be able to support B&Q’s customers who need assistance with their home improvement projects, as well as cooperate with Screwfix’s customer base of trade professionals. NeedHelp will continue to operate as an independent company and will seek to offer its installation capabilities to retail customers across the Home Improvement sector, through its open architecture model.
Commenting on the acquisition, Thierry Garnier, Kingfisher’s CEO, said: “To serve customers effectively today, we need to be more digital and service orientated, while leveraging our strong store assets. Online services marketplaces are key to the future of home improvement retail and NeedHelp is an established and fast-growing player in this arena. Its acquisition accelerates our digital capabilities and extends the services that we can provide our customers – two central components of our future growth strategy.
“Looking ahead, we will develop NeedHelp quickly in the UK and Poland by leveraging our extensive store network and our differentiated banners that serve both home improvers and tradespeople. This represents an exciting opportunity to create a more complete services offer and to help make better homes accessible for everyone.”
Guillaume de Kergariou, NeedHelp’s founder and CEO, added: “We are delighted to be cementing our relationship with Kingfisher through this transaction. The additional investment and expertise that Kingfisher will bring, as well as the ability to help support its huge customer base, opens an exciting new chapter for us. We will continue investing in our technology, product and operational processes to drive even greater customer satisfaction. We are proud to support the growth of the home improvement market in Europe, through our open architecture model.”
JJ Van Oosten, Kingfisher’s Chief Customer and Digital Officer, who has been appointed as NeedHelp’s Chairman, commented: “NeedHelp’s success has been built by delivering ease and assurance to customers who want to improve their homes, and the tradespeople with the skills to support them. We know the business well, it is a natural fit with our retail banners, and it accelerates our service proposition. Kingfisher is committed to supporting NeedHelp in unlocking its significant growth potential, by promoting and growing NeedHelp’s open architecture with its existing retail partners, as well as with new retail partners across Europe.”