Wednesday 17 January 2018

Home improvements retailer Kingfisher cautious on France as third quarter profit edges higher

Kingfisher owns DIY giant B&Q
Kingfisher owns DIY giant B&Q

Kingfisher, Europe's biggest home improvements retailer, posted third-quarter profit at the lower end of forecasts and cautioned that its markets remained tough

The firm said on Thursday there was no obvious sign of an imminent improvement in consumer sentiment in France, its most profitable market, where it trades as Castorama and Brico Depot.

Kingfisher, which also runs the B&Q and Screwfix chains in Britain, made a retail profit of £271m (€325m) in the 13 weeks to November 2 - an increase of 1.7pc on a constant-currency basis.

That compared with analyst forecasts in a range of £271m to £285m, with a consensus of £280m.

Total sales rose 8pc to £2.92bn, with sales at stores open over a year up 1.4pc.

In France, where like-for-like sales were flat, retail profit was impacted by a slightly lower gross margin percentage in a more price-promotional environment, Kingfisher said.

Like-for-like sales in the UK & Ireland increased 2pc, driven by a strong performance at Screwfix, which opened its 300th store in the quarter.

Kingfisher saw sales growth in each of its other international markets, including Poland and Germany.

"Looking ahead, we remain ready to capitalise on any improvement in conditions or opportunities as they arise," said Chief Executive Ian Cheshire, adding he remained "enthusiastic about our longer-term prospects."

Shares in Kingfisher, up 39pc so far this year, closed on Wednesday at 396 pence, valuing the business at £9.4bn.


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