Business World

Friday 22 September 2017

Testing times for the group behind B&Q as sales decline

Ellie Donnelly

Ellie Donnelly

Kingfisher, the group behind DIY chain B&Q, has reported sales of £2.86bn for the first three months of its fiscal year to April 30, up 5pc year-on-year, however in like-for-like terms, sales have actually declined by 0.6pc.

The decline in like-for-like sales is said to be driven by continued weaker sales in France and, “business disruption” from the ONE Kingfisher programme, according to its first quarter trading update.

“Strong performance in Screwfix and Poland continues, though performance in France remains weak. In addition, we are experiencing some business disruption given the volume of change, as we clear old ranges, remerchandise new ranges and continue the roll out of our unified IT platform,” Véronique Laury, ceo of Kingfisher said.

In key divisions, sales performance for the group was varied.

In the Ireland and the UK, overall like-for-like sales grew by 3.5pc driven by a strong Screwfix performance, where sales grew an impressive 12.6pc on a like-for-like basis. However B&Q sales grew just 0.5pc on a like-for-like basis in the three months to April 30.

In France, the group’s performance was weak.

Sales at both retail chains in France, Castorama and Brico Depot, declined by 5.5pc on a like-for-like basis for the three months to April 30.

The decline reflects an overall decline in the French market for home improvement, with market sales down approximately 1pc in the first three months of 2017, according to Banque de France data.

In Poland, sales improved by 3.5pc on the like-for-like basis, reflecting a supportive market there.

Kingfisher ceo said that they remained confident in their ability to delivery on their long-term plan, “both the financial benefits of the transformation and the benefits to customers.”

The group confirmed in its trading report that is has repurchased £79m worth of shares – equating to 23m shares – as part of its ongoing share buyback programme.

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