Kingfisher's profits boosted by strong sales at Screwfix
Kingfisher, the owner of B&Q and Screwfix, saw its group retail profits climb by 1.7% to Â£271 million in constant currency in its third quarter. However, the group warned that its markets remained challenging, especially in France.
In the 13 weeks to 2 November, group like-for like sales edged up 1.4% while total sales climbed by 4.6% to £2.9 billion.
In the UK and Ireland, like-for-like sales increased by 2% with total sales rising by 3.7% to £1.1 billion. The increase was driven by a strong performance from Screwfix and encouraging early signs in the smaller tradesman market, offset by a slow underlying retail market. Retail profit grew by 8.3% to £63 million.
At B&Q, total sales rose 0.8% to £915 million, edging up 0.4% on a like-for-like basis. Although sales of outdoor seasonal products were down around 8% following strong sales in the second quarter, sales of indoor products were up around 3% with new flooring and light bulb ranges performing particularly well.
The Screwfix chain grew its total sales by 21.1% to £180 million while like-for-like sales surged by 11.1%. Kingfisher said the chain had benefited from a strong promotional programme, extended opening hours, the roll out of new outlets and the introduction of a mobile 'click, pay & collect' offer last year. Nine outlets were opened in the third quarter, taking the total to 303.
In France, where Kingfisher operates the Castorama and Brico Depot,chains, like-for-like sales were flat as trade was impacted by weak consumer confidence.
Ian Cheshire, Kingsfisher group chief executive, said: "Following a mixed first half, we have seen growth in both sales and profits in our third quarter, one of our most significant trading periods in the year. Whilst we have delivered sales growth in each of our geographies our markets remain challenging, especially in France where consumer confidence is still weak and with no obvious signs of an imminent improvement.
"Looking ahead, we remain ready to capitalise on any improvement in conditions or opportunities as they arise. In the meantime, our self-help plan, 'Creating the Leader', continues to progress well so I remain enthusiastic about our longer-term prospects."
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