History of B&Q

Discover the history of B&Q from 1969 to the present day, and find out how, four decades on, we are the largest home improvement retailer in Europe.

History of B&QHistory of B&QHistory of B&QHistory of B&Q

We've been proudly serving customers since 1969. It was a pioneering year, with the first manned lunar landing and two men called Richard Block and David Quayle opening their first B&Q store in Southampton.  In the 1960s professional building supplies were mainly found at builders’ merchants and hardware stores, and home improvement was a hobby of the few.

Block and Quayle wanted to bring value, longer opening hours and a broader product range to everyone, so in 1969 they opened their first store in Portswood Road, Southampton, Hampshire in a disused cinema. Although initially called Block and Quayle, the name was soon shortened to B&Q.

In the 1970s, a decade famous for avocado bathroom suites and psychedelic patterns, we grew to meet customers’ demand for homes that reflected their new tastes. We expanded across the South East, reaching 26 stores by the end of the seventies, and introduced products from power tools through to sheet boarding and formica to the British public. Block and Quayle were achieving their ambition of bringing home improvement to the masses.   

Everything grew in the 80s: hair, shoulder pads, the B&Q product range and our number of stores. We bought Scottish DIY chain Dodge City and became part of the Kingfisher Group, then known as Pater Noster.  

Our transactional website, diy.com was launched in 2000.

Over the last three years, we have increased our market share in the UK, supported by strong engagement with new and existing customers and higher store and online NPS scores. We’ve also maintained a solid three-year like-for-like growth. For the 2022/23 financial year, whilst sales were down 8.8% versus the 2021/22 financial year, we were up 15.8% against pre-pandemic levels reflecting the resilience of our business. 

Today, we are continuing to build world-class omni-channel propositions for our DIY, DIFM (do it for me) and trade customers, with stores at the heart. 

B&Q is part of Kingfisher plc, an international home improvement retailer with 1,100 stores in 8 countries across Europe. For further information about Kingfisher go to www.kingfisher.com.