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B&Q showroom sales fall in first half of the year

B&Q showroom sales fell during the first half of its financial year to end of July as the DIY chain failed to benefit from the problems at rival Homebase.

Kingfisher, which owns B&Q and Screwfix in the UK and Ireland, said total sales at B&Q had fallen by 2.3% to £1.8 billion and like-for-like sales declined by 2.5%. Showroom sales were down 5.4%.

No new B&Q stores were opened during the period.

Retail profits for the period (including Screwfix) totalled £218 million – up 1.2% on the previous year.

Kingfisher is halfway through a five-year transformation plan, which includes reducing the number of suppliers it works with across categories and investing in a stronger digital proposition.

The firm, which also has operations in France, said it continued “to deliver on strategic milestones”.

Véronique Laury, Kingfisher chief executive, said: “The extent and pace of change in the retail sector is profound. We saw these changes and acted early.

“We’re now halfway through our ONE Kingfisher transformation and we are well on our way to becoming a truly customer-led, digital, and efficient business.”

She said that “transformation on this scale is tough” and the business was working through “challenges”.

She added: “There is still much to do to improve our performance in France and to remove inefficiencies within the business as we continue to transform at pace. I am confident that we have the right plan and the opportunity for Kingfisher is significant.”

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Describing the performance in the UK business as “solid”, Laury said: “Looking to the full year, we remain on track to deliver our strategic milestones for the third year in a row and have put actions in place to support our performance.”

“We firmly believe in the transformation plan benefits and maintain our ambition. The environment is making our task more difficult than expected and we will always take the right decisions for the company in the long term.”

Kingfisher’s transformation plan is expected to deliver a £500m annual profit uplift by the end of the firm’s 2020/21 financial year.

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