Home and DIY retail group Kingfisher is the latest retailer to blame wet weather on poor sales as like-for-like (LFL) remained flat in its second quarter.
Total sales in the UK & Ireland rose five per cent over the 10 weeks to July 7th 2012, up just 1.1 per cent on a LFL basis.
Gross margin is expected to be down due to markdowns needed to help clear horticultural stocks though additional promotions aimed at boosting sales activity helped improve figures slightly.
Kingfisher CEO Ian Cheshire commented: “The unprecedented wet weather across Northern Europe has continued throughout our second quarter so far, clearly impacting footfall and consumer demand for outdoor and seasonal products.
“However, additional marketing and promotional activity helped encourage customers to switch some of their activity to internal repairs and projects, partially offsetting the weather related weakness, particularly in the UK.
“We also took the necessary promotional action to clear horticultural stocks.”
Despite this, home & DIY retailer B&Q, owned by Kingfisher, saw total sales rise 4.9 per cent, up 1.6 per cent LFL, while Screwfix also reported an improvement with total sales growing 7.2 per cent over the period.
From an international viewpoint, the group, which earlier this month appointed Vodafone’s Chief Finance Officer, Karen Witts as Group Financial Director, saw total sales in Poland, China, Spain and Russia rise 9.3 per cent, up 0.2 per cent LFL.
Meanwhile, total sales in France were down 0.6 per cent over the period, a 2.3 per cent LFL drop, with Brico Dépôt reported a 4.5 per cent decrease, blamed on “trading patterns this year in the run up to July public holidays.”
Cheshire remains confident that the group can overcome recent challenges, commenting: ““Whilst these exceptional weather patterns have impacted us in the short term we continued to progress with the key steps of our ‘Creating the Leader’ programme of self-help, including accelerating the introduction of new, common ranges in the quarter.
“I remain confident that this programme will see us emerge as a world class retailer at helping our customers have better, more sustainable homes.”