// Sales slide in the third quarter for Kingfisher, parent company of B&Q & Screwfix
// New CEO Thierry Garnier admits there is “much to do” to turn around the company
// B&Q’s UK and Ireland like-for-like sales down 3.4% in the quarter to October 31
The new chief executive of B&Q parent company Kingfisher has said there is “much to do” to turn around the company’s fortunes after sales slid again in the third quarter.
Thierry Garnier, who took over the helm eight weeks ago from Veronique Laury, said recent trading had been “disappointing” as Kingfisher continues to suffer from a lengthy overhaul programme and tough market conditions.
The company said B&Q’s UK and Ireland like-for-like sales declines accelerated to 3.4 per cent in the quarter to October 31.
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However, this was offset once more by growth of 3.7 per cent in its Screwfix division, albeit marking a slowdown on the chain’s first-half performance.
Sales in France also remained under pressure, tumbling 6.1 per cent, with a 5.2 per cent drop for its other international operations.
Kingfisher cautioned trading would remain tough for the final quarter across all its operations, with the UK continuing to be impacted by disruption to sales from range changes as well as a tough market backdrop.
“It is clear that there is much to do to improve our performance,” Garnier said.
“Kingfisher’s trading during the third quarter was disappointing.”
He added: “We are suffering from organisational complexity, and we are trying to do too much at once with multiple large-scale initiatives running in parallel.
“Altogether, this has brought disruption to sales and has distracted the business from focusing on customers.”
He said he was prioritising plans to fix issues with Kingfisher’s IT and supply chain in France and halting some initiatives to concentrate on reversing sales declines.
“The effect of these changes will not be immediate,” Garnier said.
Kingfisher is in the middle of an overhaul that was initially launched by Laury, which has seen the company shut down 65 B&Q shops and slash about 3000 jobs.
It has also been shaking up its ranges and improving its online offering.
However, Kingfisher has admitted this has taken its toll on performance, with recent half-year results showing profits dropped 12.5 per cent to £245 million.