B&Q and Screwfix owner Kingfisher has reported a 0.8% rise in retail profits to £150m in the first three months of the year, hit by instability in the foreign exchange markets
Europe’s largest home improvement retailer saw sales total £2.6bn in the first quarter, a rise of 4.5% on the previous year.
The UK and Ireland continued to be the best performing region for sales, which rose by 3.1%, while performance in France lagged due to a "soft market", said the company in a trading update this morning.
Screwfix has bolstered Kingfisher’s revenue as its unit that sells power tools and plumbing supplies rose 15.4%. This is due largely in part to British consumers’ decision to hire handymen instead of doing it for themselves. This trend imposed on the DIY group’s sales but in riposte, Kingfisher is closing B&Q outlets and in turn, opening more Screwfix stores.
Véronique Laury, Kingfisher Chief Executive Officer, said:
“We have made a solid start to the year against strong comparatives. In the UK, B&Q continued to grow sales volumes and Screwfix delivered an excellent performance, opening its 400th store in May. In France, our businesses performed broadly in line with the market.
We are also making good early progress with our ‘ONE’ Kingfisher plan to unlock our potential by creating a single, unified company where customer needs come first. Our first ‘sharp’ decisions are being worked on at pace. I am delighted that Arja Taaveniku, our Chief Offer & Supply Chain Officer, joined the team in May, and that the pilot of our unified IT system is on track. We are also pleased to report that we already have agreements to dispose of a quarter of the B&Q stores earmarked for closure. We look forward to sharing more of our plans as the year progresses.”