Kingfisher third quarter trading ‘disappointing’
Kingfisher, the owner of B&Q and Screwfix, saw its like-for-like sales fall by 3.7% in its third quarter
The retailer said the decline was due to a lower level of promotional activity and disruption caused by new range implementations. Trading was also impacted by operational issues in France.
Total sales were down 3.2% in constant currency in the three-month period to 31 October. Like-for-like sales at B&Q in the UK and Ireland dropped by 3.4%, although sales at Screwfix were up 3.7%.
Thierry Garnier, Kingfisher’s recently appointed chief executive, described the performance as disappointing and said the business had not found the right balance between getting the benefits of group scale and staying close to local markets.
He added: “We are suffering from organisational complexity, and we are trying to do too much at once with multiple large-scale initiatives running in parallel. Altogether, this has brought disruption to sales and has distracted the business from focusing on customers. In addition, we faced softer market conditions in our main markets during the period.”
Sales in France, where Kingfisher operates the Castorama and Brico Dépôt brands, fell by 6.1%
Meanwhile, sales in Kingfisher’s other international markets dropped by 5.2%.
Kingfisher strengthened its executive team in the period with the appointment of Bernard Bot as chief financial officer, John Wartig as chief transformation and development officer, and Alain Rabec as chief executive of Kingfisher’s French business.
Garnier said: “As a team, our priority is to fix our operational issues – particularly in IT and supply chain in France – and refocus our efforts. This includes stopping or pausing a number of initiatives to concentrate on stabilising performance and trading. The effect of these changes will not be immediate.
“In parallel, we are building a longer term plan to refocus on our customers, simplify our model, embrace digital and return our business to growth. I look forward to providing an update on the business and our strategic priorities in March, within our full year results.”
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