Kingfisher’s sales recover after lockdown plunge
B&Q owner Kingfisher saw its group sales drop by 24% to £2.2 billion in its first quarter after trading was impacted by covid-19 lockdowns in the UK and Europe.
However, trade has now begun to recover due to stores gradually re-opening.
In a company statement, Kingfisher said group like-for-like sales in the first week of April were down by a massive 74% year-on-year but recovered to an increase of 2.7% in the first week in May.
In the UK and Ireland, sales were down 70.3% in the first week of April but in the first week of May climbed by 18.9%.
Although B&Q stores were allowed to remain open during lockdown due to being classed as an essential retailer, Kingfisher took the decision to close all UK B&Q and Screwfix stores while it put in place new covid-19 related health and safety measures.
Following a successful trial of the re-opening 14 stores on 17 April, B&Q now has 288 UK shops open to the public.
Thierry Garnier, Kingfisher chief executive, said: “Having initially closed our stores in France and the UK, we have rapidly adapted how we operate to meet the essential needs of our customers safely during lockdown.
“We have also taken significant actions throughout the business to reduce costs and protect cash, in part supported by governments. Our current cash balance provides us with sufficient financial headroom based on assumptions of a prolonged period of reduced sales.
“Over and above this we have put in place some further liquidity arrangements, including support from the UK and French governments, which give us additional security in case of even more severe scenarios. Overall, the operational and financial actions we have taken give us a sound footing in the current crisis and beyond.”
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