Belfast Telegraph

B&Q’s sales bounce back after torrid start to year

B&Q owner Kingfisher has posted group sales of £3.26 billion for the second quarter.

B&Q’s sales have bounced back following warmer weather in the UK, but shares in its parent company fell due to its poor performance in France.

B&Q owner Kingfisher has posted group sales of £3.26 billion for the second quarter, representing like-for-like sales growth of 1.6%.

Like-for-like sales were up by 4.2% across the UK and Ireland, but fell by 1% in France.

Despite the company facing a “weak UK consumer backdrop”, B&Q’s sales rose 3.6%, while Screwfix’s sales climbed by 5.5%.

DIY store Castorama was the drag on sales in France, with like-for-like sales dropping by 3.8% over the period.

Kingfisher pinned the results in France on weaker footfall and the impact of a transformation plan under way in Castorama.

Shares were down 2.3% at the time of writing at 281.9p.

Neil Wilson, chief market analyst at Markets.com, said: “Unusually warm summer lifted sales at Kingfisher in the second quarter, but we still see continued weakness in France that is dragging on the group performance.

“After the Beast from the East took a nasty chunk out of first-quarter sales, this is a welcome return to like-for-like growth.

“Sometimes retailers can blame it on the weather and in the first half Kingfisher has had both the good and the bad.”

Chief executive Veronique Laury said: “We started our transformation two-and-a-half years ago and are on track to deliver our strategic milestones for the third year in a row.

“In the second quarter, I’m pleased that we grew our sales after the exceptionally harsh weather conditions in the first quarter.”

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Kingfisher chief executive Veronique Laury (Charles Best/Kingfisher/PA)

She said Kingfisher was bringing forward new plans to help its results in France during the second half of the year.

The results in the UK are a sharp turnaround from the first quarter, when the Beast from the East knocked B&Q’s revenues by 8.8%.

The DIY chain recently announced that it was investing £100 million as part of plans to lower its prices.

It has been cutting back on its promotional activity and is offering lower, everyday prices to its customers instead.

B&Q’s sales bump comes shortly after rival Homebase announced plans to close 42 of its stores, with the likely loss of 1,500 jobs.

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