A 'tale of two quarters' as Kingfisher sales soar in heatwave
The UK's July heatwave helped DIY chain B&Q recover from the freezing spring as sales of hosepipes and barbecues soared along with the temperature.
Parent Kingfisher cited a "tale of two quarters", with sales of outdoor goods at B&Q falling 11% in February to April, but rose 17% between May and early August.
Volatile weather resulted in a 1.6% dip in adjusted pre-tax profits to £365m for the 26 weeks to the start of August, but Kingfisher's sales grew 4.3% to £5.7bn on continued expansion and currency swings.
Kingfisher, which also owns trade counter chain Screwfix and Castorama and Brico Depot in France, said consumers remain nervous about spending across its major markets.
The company said: "It was a tale of two quarters with the coldest weather for 50 years in March and a heatwave in July."
B&Q is "rightsizing" by hiving off surplus space in its stores to companies such as supermarkets. But Kingfisher is expanding its Screwfix business, which saw underlying sales increase 3.6% and total sales soar 14.6% to £313m, defying a tough market for small tradesmen.
It has launched a Screwfix pilot in Germany, with four outlets due to open next summer, and its website has been rolled out to 20 European countries.
Kingfisher's sales in the UK and Ireland dipped 1% on a like-for-like basis, but total revenues edged up 0.3% to £2.3bn. Profits in the UK and the Republic were broadly flat at £141m.