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Kingfisher beats market expectations in the first quarter

Kingfisher delivered market-beating figures for the first quarter with progress especially strong in its core UK market with B&Q delivering a 3.2 per cent like-for-like sales increase and a doubling of retail profits.

CITY & CORPORATE

Kingfisher beats market expectations in the first quarter

This contributed to an overall 10 per cent increase in sales and reported retail profit up 40 per cent across the group for the 13 weeks to May 2. The impressive figures were
helped by favourable weather in the UK and France as well as the late Easter compared with last year.

Ian Cheshire, group chief executive of Kingfisher, says: “We have made a good start to the year...B&Q in particular capitalised well on this increased demand, growing its market share and doubling its retail profit. Whilst there is still work to be done I am confident that B&Q is emerging from its renewal phase in better shape to convert sales volumes into cash profits.”

There was also encouragement from the group's French and Eastern European businesses where sales and profits continued to grow in these slower markets. The restructuring in China also continues with the store portfolio reduced from 62 outlets down to 51 since the end of the quarter.

Looking ahead Cheshire says confidently: “We continue to plan for a particularly tough balance of the year in our major markets. As a strong business with tight control over margins, costs and cash we are increasingly better placed to benefit when consumer demand improves."

The results beat market expectations and analysts are preparing to upgrade their forecasts. In early trading this morning the shares moved up eight per cent to 198.4p.

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