Home & DIY retail group Kingfisher is on course to meet its full-year profits targets despite today reporting further falls in UK trading during its fourth quarter.
Sales in the UK & Ireland for the owner of retailers B&Q and Screwfix grew 1.5 per cent in total during the 13 weeks to January 28th 2012, thanks in part to new space acquired from failed rival Focus DIY, however on a like-for-like (LFL) basis domestic trading dropped 1.9 per cent compared to the same period last year.
B&Q LFL sales were down 2.5 per cent during the quarter and Screwfix saw a decline of 2.2 per cent over the three months, as cash-strapped consumers continued to limit their spending on non-essential items.
New store openings and the launch of several new product ranges boosted sales at the group’s Castorama chain in France, Poland, and Russia, and once the Q4 performance of the group’s international operations are included, total sales for Kingfisher rose 0.9 per cent LFL in constant currencies.
Full-year profits are now expected to be up 20 per cent on last year, with final results to be announced March, which is in-line with previous estimates.
“With sales growth in each of our three main divisions and further solid profit growth in our final quarter we have ended another challenging year in robust shape,” Ian Cheshire the Kingfisher CEO said.
“Our established programme of self-help initiatives has continued to serve us well and so we expect to announce full year adjusted profit in line with the current consensus of analyst expectations.”
Kingfisher also announced a management reshuffle today that will see Euan Sutherland, currently CEO of Kingfisher UK & Ireland, become Chief Operating Officer for the whole of the group with responsibility for the common range initiative and the group’s eco business.
Kevin O’Byrne is moving from the role of Group Finance Director, with a replacement yet to be announced, to Divisional CEO for B&Q where he will be in charge of the home & DIY specialist in the UK & China and responsible for its joint venture in Turkey with Germany firm Hornbach.
Under this new structure the role of CEO for Kingfisher International has been removed however, meaning Peter Hogstead, who currently holds the role, will leave the company later this year.
Commenting on the changes, Simon Chinn, Lead Consultant at retail analyst group Conlumino, said: “B&Q’s move to create a senior management structure around its operational divisions rather than international territories makes perfect strategic sense and fits in with the efforts the group has made to combine its sourcing and own brands across its core fascias, B&Q and Castorama, over the last few years.
“It is a shame to see Peter Hogsted leave the business, but we believe he can depart with his head held high, having driven international expansion plans and established Kingfisher as a formidable DIY player in key growth markets like Poland, Russia and China.”