// Kingfisher sales affected by coronavirus store closures
// The group recorded a 24% sales drop in the first quarter
Kingfisher has seen first quarter sales drop thanks to the coronavirus lockdown enforcing store closures across its its UK, Ireland, French and other international businesses.
The home and DIY giant reported a 24 per cent decline in sales to £2.2 billion for the three months to April 30.
In the UK, Kingfisher sales dropped by 14.7 per cent to £1.09 billion, with sales from its B&Q division plummeting 22.1 per cent to £663 million.
- B&Q re-opens full store estate as lockdown continues
- Stores could reopen as early as June, Boris Johnson says
Meanwhile, Screwfix performed relatively well compared to B&Q, reporting just a 0.1 per cent sales fall to £432 million for the quarter.
Kingfisher said it remains “committed to colleague and customer safety” as it offers support for communities and governments during the pandemic.
“As part of this commitment, in March we ring-fenced all remaining stock of personal protective equipment (PPE) and donated it to frontline healthcare workers,” Kingfisher said.
The retailer has also seen its ecommerce channel grow by up to a fourfold since mid-March.
Moreover, B&Q reopened all of its stores across the UK in late April as the lockdown continues, and saw customers flock to stores, resulting in long queues after social distancing measures were put in place.
“Having initially closed our stores in France and the UK, we have rapidly adapted how we operate to meet the essential needs of our customers safely during lockdown,” Kingfisher chief executive Thierry Garnier said.
“We started by transforming our operations to meet a material increase in online transactions through our click & collect and home delivery services.
Kingfisher said it has taken “effective actions taken to reduce costs and preserve cash”.
It has sufficient liquidity headroom against the assumption of prolonged period of reduced sales, based on a current cash balance of £700 million.
The company had access to over £2 billion in total liquidity as of May 8.
“The operational and financial actions we have taken give us a sound footing in the current crisis and beyond,” Garnier said.
“We have adapted to government guidelines, listened to colleague and customer feedback, and made major changes to our operating model in a matter of days.
“These challenging times have underscored both the agility of our teams and the importance to customers of our offering, which gives me a lot of confidence for the future.”