Belfast Telegraph

B&Q sales up 3.5% in boost for remaining local stores

By Ravender Sembhy

B&Q owner Kingfisher, which operates around 14 stores in Northern Ireland, has reported a solid set of third-quarter results driven by another strong performance at Screwfix.

The group said like-for-like sales in the UK rose 5.8% in the three months to the end of October, helping total revenue grow 1.8% to £2.96bn.

Like-for-like sales at Screwfix rocketed 12.7%, while B&Q notched up respectable growth of 3.5%.

As part of a turnaround plan, the company has shut B&Q stores in Craigavon, Belfast's Boucher Road, Buncrana Road in Londonderry and in Ballymena.

It has kept stores in Coleraine, Holywood Exchange outside Belfast, Newtownabbey and Newry - and reversed plans to close down in Sprucefield. There are around nine of its smaller-format Screwfix stores, aimed at the trade market, in the province.

Kingfisher chief executive Veronique Laury said: "Third-quarter trading conditions have followed a similar trend to the first half. We have delivered another solid sales performance overall, trading in line with expectations.

"Sales have been driven by Poland and the UK, especially Screwfix, offset by softer sales in France."

In France, where it trades as Castorama, Kingfisher saw like-for-like sales fall 3.6%. Polish sales were up 6.7% on a like-for-like basis.

Neil Wilson, markets analyst at ETX Capital, said that Kingfisher may consider offloading its French business if it "continues to degrade shareholder value and act as a drag on the UK business".

Shares were down 3.06% at 358.4p. In August the company said that while the EU referendum result has created uncertainty, there has been no clear evidence of an impact on business so far.

As part of Ms Laury's revival plans, the chief executive is aiming to boost profits by £500m a year by 2021. She added that the company was making good progress in the first year of its five year turnaround plan.

Belfast Telegraph