B&Q owner to shut 60 stores across Britain and Ireland
Kingfisher, Europe's biggest home improvements retailer, has today announced it will be closing 60 stores in Britain and Ireland, a day after pulling out of a takeover for French chain Mr Bricolage.
British group Kingfisher, which owns the chains B&Q and Screwfix in Britain as well as Castorama and Brico Depot in France, said it would close the stores over the next two years at a restructuring cost of £350 million. Neither the exact locations nor number of planned job losses were disclosed.
"Kingfisher has said for some time that B&Q UK & Ireland can adequately meet local customer needs from fewer stores and that some of the stores should be smaller." the group said, while revealing the departure of B&Q Chief Executive Kevin O'Byrne.
It was announced also that Kingfisher's annual profits had dropped 19 percent to £573 million too.
In a statement, the company said: "The results for the year reflect a mixed picture across our markets with the UK market improving but continental Europe, particularly France, proving to be a more challenging environment."
"However, our ongoing focus on cash and tight capital discipline meant we were able to continue to invest in the business whilst maintaining a strong balance sheet, pay £234 million in annual cash dividends and return a further £200 million to shareholders via special dividends and share buy backs."
In reaction to the announcements, Kingfisher's share price surged 4.74 percent to 382.10 pence, topping London's benchmark FTSE 100 index, which edged up 0.08 overall.
Its shares had rallied also on Monday after Kingfisher said it had pulled out of a deal to buy Mr Bricolage in the absence of regulatory approval.
For more information, visit: http://www.france24.com/en/20150331-kingfisher-shut-british-home-improvement-stores/
Google and NIST Address Supply Chain Cybersecurity
As high-level supply chain attacks hit the news, Google and the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have both developed proposals for how to address software supply chain security. This isn’t a new field, unfortunately. Since supply chains are a critical part of business resilience, criminals have no qualms about targeting its software. That’s why identifying, assessing, and mitigating cyber supply chain risks (C-SCRM) is at the top of Google and NIST’s respective agendas.
High-Profile Supply Chain Attacks
According to Google, no comprehensive end-to-end framework exists to mitigate threats across the software supply chain. [Yet] ‘there is an urgent need for a solution in the face of the eye-opening, multi-billion-dollar attacks in recent months...some of which could have been prevented or made more difficult’.
Here are several of the largest cybersecurity failures in recent months:
- SolarWinds. Alleged Russian hackers slipped malicious code into a routine software update, which they then used as a Trojan horse for a massive cyberattack.
- Codecov. Attackers used automation to collect credentials and raid ‘additional resources’, such as data from other software development vendors.
- Malicious attacks on open-source repositories. Out of 1,000 GitHub accounts, more than one in five contained at least one dependency confusion-related misconfiguration.
As a result of these attacks and Biden’s recent cybersecurity mandate, NIST and Google took action. NIST held a 1,400-person workshop and published 150 papers worth of recommendations from Microsoft, Synopsys, The Linux Foundation, and other software experts; Google will work with popular source, build, and packaging platforms to help companies implement and excel at their SLSA framework.
What Are Their Recommendations?
Here’s a quick recap: NIST has grouped together recommendations to create federal standards; Google has developed an end-to-end framework called Supply Chain Levels for Software Artifacts (SLSA)—pronounced “Salsa”. Both address software procurement and security.
Now, here’s the slightly more in-depth version:
- NIST. The organisation wants more ‘rigorous and predictable’ ways to secure critical software. They suggest that firms use vulnerability disclosure programmes (VDP) and software bills of materials (SBOM), consider simplifying their software and give at least one developer per project security training.
- Google. The company thinks that SLSA will encompass the source-build-publish software workflow. Essentially, the four-level framework helps businesses make informed choices about the security of the software they use, with SLSA 4 representing an ideal end state.
If this all sounds very abstract, consider the recent SolarWinds attack. The attacker compromised the build platform, installed an implant, and injected malicious behaviour during each build. According to Google, higher SLSA levels would have required stronger security controls for the build platform, making it more difficult for the attacker to succeed.
How Do The Proposals Differ?
As Brian Fox, the co-founder and CTO at Sonatype, sees it, NIST and Google have created proposals that complement each other. ‘The NIST [version] is focused on defining minimum requirements for software sold to the government’, he explained, while Google ‘goes [further] and proposes a specific model for scoring the supply chain. NIST is currently focused on the “what”. Google, along with other industry leaders, is grappling with the “how”’.