Kingfisher reports rise in sales but warns of tough times ahead
Kingfisher, the owner of B&Q and Screwfix, has announced a rise in Q1 sales as the warm weather and April bank holiday weekends brought more people into its stores.
Sales rose 3.3% to £2.7 billion in the 13 weeks to 30 April with sales in the UK and Ireland rising 1.4%. Gross margin was slightly down year-on-year.
Pre-tax profits were up 21% to £174 million as sales in seasonal categories rose with new garden furniture and outdoor paint ranges performing well. However, sales of products for indoor DIY projects were down around 10% as customers concentrated on buying tools and equipment for outdoor projects.
Sales also rose at Screwfix, up 5.4% to £124m, as a result of the introduction of new product ranges.
Ian Cheshire, Group Chief Executive, said: "I am pleased that we have made a strong start to the year, capitalising on more favourable weather conditions right across Europe and extended public holidays in the UK. We delivered sales growth in all three of our divisions, with continued margin initiatives and improved cost productivity delivering retail profits up over 20%. In France, where our initiatives aimed at making home improvement easier for our customers are most advanced, our performance was particularly strong with sales growing ahead of the market."
He added: "Whilst we have got off to a good start, it remains our view that this year is likely to be a tough one for all retailers, especially in the UK. It is also likely that the early spring weather will have brought forward some of our outdoor seasonal sales. So we remain very focused on our well established programme of self-help to deliver a solid full year result, especially with the key summer trading period in France still ahead of us. We are also busy mobilising the business for the next phase of our longer term growth."
B&Q spent £23 million in April buying 31 stores from the Focus DIY chain which fell into administration earlier that month.
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