Wednesday 21 February 2018

Kingfisher profit falls on forex, weather and recession

KINGFISHER, Europe's largest home improvements retailer, met forecasts with an 11.4pc fall in annual profit that reflected unfavourable foreign exchange movements, weak economies and unhelpful weather.

The group, which runs market leader B&Q in Britain and trades as Castorama and Brico Depot in France, said on Tuesday that it expects market conditions to remain challenging but it is confident about its own prospects.

Kingfisher made an underlying pretax profit of £715m in the year to February 2.

That was in line with analysts' consensus forecast but down from £807m in 2011-12.

Retailers across Europe are battling a prolonged squeeze in consumer incomes and sellers of "big ticket" items such as kitchens and bathrooms are particularly vulnerable.

Kingfisher, which trades from more than 1,000 stores in eight countries in Europe and Asia, is also being squeezed by a continuing low level of housing transactions, since moving house is often associated with spending on home improvements.

Group sales fell 2.4pc to £10.57bn, with weak consumer confidence resulting in like-for-like sales declines in its three key markets of Britain, France and Poland.

It said that adverse foreign exchange movements when translating euro and Polish zloty overseas profits into sterling knocked £39m off profit, while record wet weather in Britain cost it 25 million pounds as less customers visited its stores.

Kingfisher, the world's No. 3 home improvements retailer behind U.S. groups Lowe's (LOW.N) and Home Depot

The company, which ended the year with net cash of £38m, raised its dividend 7pc to 9.46p.

Shares in the group, down 9pc over the past year, closed at 283p on Monday, valuing the business at £6.72bn.

Reuters

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