Kingfisher posts drop in profit
In the year 31 January, the second year of its transformation programme, Kingfisher's statutory pre-tax profit fell by 10.1% to £682 million while like-for like sales at constant currency edged down 0.7%. On an underlying basis, pre-tax profit was up 1.3% to £797 million.
B&Q’s like-for-like sales declined by 2.8% in the period. In contrast, like-for-like sales at Screwfix increased by 10.1% as the retailer experienced strong growth in its specialist trade desks and digital channel, and continued to roll out new outlets.
Like-for-like sales in France, where Kingfisher operates the Castorama and Brico Dépôt chains, fell by 3.5% but sales in Poland fared better with an uplift of 5.3%.
Kingfisher said it is making good progress with its transformation plan which is now beginning to bring results.
Véronique Laury, Kingfisher chief executive, explained: "For the second year in a row, all our key strategic milestones have been met and I am really pleased to say that we are starting to see tangible delivery of our plan. The changes are now visible across our stores and online.
“Over a third of our ranges have now been unified and they are being well received by customers. We are buying as one and are starting to see the customer and financial benefits coming through, both in sales and gross margins.
“Our digital initiatives are gaining momentum as we enter the final year of roll out of our unified IT platform. I am also pleased to see that our operational efficiency initiatives, focusing initially on goods not for resale, continue to deliver and are now gathering pace as we start to unlock further opportunities.”
Looking ahead, the company said the outlook by country for the current financial year is a mixed picture with the UK more uncertain following softer sales at both B&Q and Screwfix in the previous year’s fourth quarter.
It added: “Overall, we are aware of the challenges ahead but remain confident in our ability to deliver the FY 20/21 plan benefits.”
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