Kingfisher posts fall in profits as turnaround plan continues
Kingfisher, the owner of B&Q and Screwfix, has reported a 20.5% fall in full year profit as the group presses on with its turnaround plan.
In the year to 31 January, statutory pre-tax profit fell to £512 million from £644 million in the previous year although adjusted pre-tax profit, which excludes the impact of exceptional items, edged up 0.3% to £686 million.
Having announced last year that it planned to shut 65 B&Q stores in the UK and Ireland over two years, today the group said 30 of these stores had now closed down.
Kingfisher chief executive Véronique Laury said: "This has been a very productive and important year. We have delivered a good 'business as usual' result with both sales and profit growth in constant currencies, driven by our performance in Poland and the UK, driven largely by Screwfix, and a stable performance in France.
"We have also delivered solid progress on the first sharp decisions announced last year. I am really pleased with the focus and the energy that the team has demonstrated during the year.
"In addition, in January we revealed our ambition and our five year plan. By putting customer needs first we will, by the end of that period, deliver a £500 million sustainable annual profit uplift, over and above 'business as usual'. It is an ambitious plan. However based on the solid progress so far, and the competence and enthusiasm of our colleagues, we feel very confident in our ability to deliver."
Like-for-like sales at B&Q increased by 1.9% in the year while total sales edged up 1.1% to £3.799 billion. Kingfisher said B&Q continued to see productivity benefits from initiatives such as 'store friendly deliveries' and roller checkouts. The retailer has also made its 'Click, Pay & Collect' service available on over 16,700 products. Total transacted online sales, including home delivery, continued to make good progress with sales growing by 29%.
Meanwhile, total sales at Screwfix climbed by 26.3% to £1.054 billion and by 15.3% on a like-for-like basis.
Looking ahead, Kingfisher chief financial officer Karen Witts said: "We have set ambitious and clear five year financial targets, which will drive a considerable increase in the value of our business for shareholders. We are tracking our progress against our financial and operational milestones, and we will update as we progress.
"In the short term, the fundamentals of the UK economic backdrop remain positive, although we remain cautious on the outlook for France. The outlook for the wider global economy remains uncertain, and the impact of the outcome of the UK EU referendum is unknown."