// Kingfisher’s UK stores – B&Q and Screwfix – to remain open despite coronavirus pandemic
// Stores in France and Spain have been closed due to government-mandated lockdowns
// Kingfisher will delay the publication of preliminary financial statements for at least 2 weeks
Kingfisher has announced its UK stores will remain open amid the coronavirus outbreak after recording a sales rise, primarily driven by its Screwfix fascia.
The DIY retail group said it would comply with the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) request to all listed companies to delay the publication of preliminary financial statements for at least two weeks.
Kingfisher was one of a number of companies due to announce results to have received a letter from the FCA on March 22.
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The letter requested a delay to the forthcoming announcement of Kingfisher’s preliminary financial statements for the year ended January 31, due to be released on March 24.
Nevertheless, Kingfisher said it would provide updates on how it was managing the impacts of Covid-19, along with fourth quarter and full-year sales, and current trading.
The B&Q and Screwfix parent company saw UK and Ireland sales increase by one per cent to £5.1 billion, Kingfisher reported in its set of unaudited accounts up to January 31.
Screwfix saw a a 9.4 per cent uptick in sales to £1.8 billion, while B&Q saw sales slump 3.1 per cent to £3.2 billion.
Total group sales were down 0.8 per cent in constant currency, while like-for-like sales were down 1.5 per cent.
Kingfisher has been hit hard over the last month by the government-mandated closure of its 221 stores in France and 28 stores in Spain, both of which have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Despite this, Kingfisher said its stores in the UK, Ireland, Poland, Romania, Portugal and Russia would remain open.
The DIY giant said it would be “serving the needs of communities for electricity, heating, plumbing and other essentials,” though there will be restrictions on the number of shoppers and protective measures at checkouts.
“We are committed to supporting our communities and governments to manage the Covid-19 pandemic,” Kingfisher chief executive Thierry Garnier said.
“We are very conscious of the anxiety that the outbreak is causing for our colleagues and customers, and we’ll do everything we can to support them.
“At the same time, we are working hard to minimise the impact on our business and financial performance.
“Since joining the business in late September 2019, my priorities have been to build the executive team, stabilise our operational performance and prepare a new plan.
“These are unprecedented times. We’ll get through them and, when we do, we are as a team committed to returning Kingfisher to growth.”
Further updates will be given as to the timing of the publication of FY 19/20 results, as soon as Kingfisher is advised by the FCA.
In terms of current trading since February 1, like-for-like sales across the group were up 7.6 per cent.
In the third week of March, Kingfisher saw a “significant” boost in online sales.
In China – where the pandemic began – nearly all of Kingfisher’s factories have reopened.
The DIY giant said it would not be issuing a dividend and confirmed it had delayed the publication of its full set of preliminary results due to restrictions from the FCA.