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B&Q owner Kingfisher posts drop in sales amid slowdown at French division

Sales at B&Q owner Kingfisher dipped in the first quarter after a slowdown at the firm's French division hit its performance.

The group posted a 0.6% decline in like-for-like sales in the three months to April 30, with comparable sales falling 5.5% in France, where the group trades as Castorama and Brico Depot.

However, in the UK like-for-like sales rose 3.5%, helped by surging revenues at Screwfix, where same-store sales rocketed 12.6%.

Total revenues came in at £2.86 billion over the period and Kingfisher chief executive Veronique Laury, who is overseeing a turnaround plan at the retailer, said: "We have set ourselves up well for our transformation, which continues in line with our plans.

"Strong performance in Screwfix and Poland continues, though performance in France remains weak."

The group has recently completed a B&Q store closure programme, which has seen it shut 65 shops and slash around 3,000 jobs in the UK and Ireland over the last two years.

Ms Laury also flagged business disruption linked to clearing old ranges and the rollout of a new unified IT platform.

She added: "We remain confident in the size of the prize and our ability to deliver our long-term plan, both the financial benefits of the transformation and the benefits to customers, supported by the continued expertise and energy of our colleagues."

Kingfisher shares slumped 5% to 340.5p in morning trading.

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