Kingfisher, parent company to B&Q and Screwfix, has reported another quarter of UK growth, but stagnant trading in France where the economics are somewhat fragile.
The retail group said Q3 trading conditions had followed a similar trend to the first half of the year, reflecting “the more encouraging macroeconomic backdrop in the UK offset by a softer market in France.”
France's Castorama and Brico Depot faced more challenging trading conditions, achieving a mere 0.1% growth. Kingfisher's French operations were also hit by the depreciation of the euro against sterling, sending reported sales down 7% in the 13 weeks to October 31.
That left retail profits in France 16% lower at £109m, compared with a 14% rise in the UK and Ireland to £80m. Overall, group sales fell 2.5% in the third quarter and profits dropped 7% to £223m.
Véronique Laury, the Chief Exec who was appointed in February, remains sanguine. In a statement released today she said “we continue to make good progress with our ‘ONE’ Kingfisher plan. The unified IT system, a key enabler of this journey, continues to progress well.
In addition we have secured a further five agreements on the B&Q stores already planned for closure, taking the total to 31. I am very encouraged by development work on the first wave of the unified ‘core essential’ ranges, which will land in stores from next year.”
As part of the wider strategy, Laury aims to close up to 60 B&Q stores and said she would slash thousands of products sold across the home improvement group by unifying its global supply chain. Could this be the end of the B&Q name?