Kingfisher sees growth but B&Q sales drop

Kingfisher Group has reported solid growth in sales in the UK and Ireland, but took a hit to its B&Q business as a result of its store closure programme.

UK and Ireland total sales in the first quarter increased by 1.4 per cent to £1.27 billion, but on a like-for-like, constant currency basis for stores that had been open for more than a year, sales grew by 3.5%. This reflected by strong performance from Screwfix – where sales were up by 20.3% – and modest price inflation.

However, sales at B&Q fell by 4.6%, although that improved to a modest growth of 0.5% on a like-for-like basis.

The biggest growth was seen online, with a 31% increase in digital sales.

Overall, the group saw a decrease of 0.9% in sales, dropping 0.6% on a like-for-like basis. This reflected continued weaker sales in France and some business disruption from its ONE Kingfisher plan.

The group said it remained on track to deliver its year two strategic milestones.

“We have set ourselves up well for our transformation, which continues in line with our plans,” said chief executive Véronique Laury. “Strong performance in Screwfix and Poland continues, though performance in France remains weak. In addition, we are experiencing some business disruption given the volume of change, as we clear old ranges, remerchandise new ranges and continue the roll out of our unified IT platform.

“However, we are on track to deliver our year two strategic milestones. Early customer reaction to our new ranges is encouraging, especially in France, where our new unique bathroom ranges are launching first.

“We remain confident in the size of the prize and our ability to deliver our long-term plan, both the financial benefits of the transformation and the benefits to customers, supported by the continued expertise and energy of our colleagues.”

Kingfisher has also announced that Christian Mazauric will become the new chief executive for B&Q on July 1, succeeding Michael Loeve.

Mazauric is the current chief executive of sister chain Brico Depot in Romania. He has worked for the Kingfisher Group for over 16 years with his most recent UK role was finance director for B&Q, which he started in September 2012.

Loeve announced in April that he would be leaving the role to become the head of Danish discount supermarket Netto.

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