Kingfisher posts flat profits
B&Q owner Kingfisher has reported flat adjusted pre-tax profits of £364 million in its first half following the negative impact of foreign exchange translation.
In the 26 weeks to 2 August sales edged up 0.9% on a total basis and by 1.8% on a like-for-basis in constant currencies. Meanwhile, group retail profit was 3.3% ahead in constant currencies, after taking into account development costs of £11 million in the group’s new markets of Portugal, Germany and Romania.
In the UK & Ireland total sales were up 6.6%, while like-for-like sales grew by 4.4%. Retail profit surged by 17.7% as the group benefited from better weather, initiatives to re-energise B&Q and increased demand for trade products as the housing market improved.
Like-for-like sales at B&Q UK & Ireland rose by 3.2% with total sales increasing by 4%. Meanwhile, Screwfix's like-for-like sales climbed by 11.9% with total sales up 23.3%.
Total sales in France grew by 0.4% in constant currencies and fell by 0.8% on a like-for-like basis. Profit was flat as trade was impacted by the country’s ongoing slow economy and the declining housing market.
In Kingfisher’s other international markets sales grew 8.8% but profit growth in Poland, Turkey and Spain was offset by new country development costs and higher losses in China.
Kingfisher group chief executive Sir Ian Cheshire said: "This was a difficult first half with demand in our largest and most significant market, France, remaining particularly weak with a sharp market downturn experienced in our second quarter. We did though deliver flat profits in France, a resilient performance despite the difficult backdrop.
“However, conditions in the UK were more favourable with better weather and encouraging signs in the smaller tradesman market. We were able to capitalise on the better conditions with Screwfix performing particularly well growing sales by 23%.
“B&Q UK & Ireland also delivered their best H1 sales growth in over a decade as the new team start to gain traction with its re-energising initiatives and started to make progress with its plan to better position the business for the future.”
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