B&Q owner Kingfisher agrees 14 store sales as group's profits for three months to May fall 4.8 per cent to £150m

B&Q owner Kingfisher has reached agreements to complete almost a quarter of its planned B&Q store closures.

Operating profit for Kingfisher excluding one-time items, amortization and some joint-venture figures fell 4.8 per cent from a year earlier to £150 million in the three months ended May 2, the company said.

The retailer saw same store sales drop by 1.1 per cent across B&Q UK and Ireland in the 13 weeks to May 2, with sales of outdoor seasonal and building products down by four per cent.

B&Q has exchanged contracts for the disposal of leases on 14 of the previously announced 60 stores closures to two national retailers over the next two years.  B&M and The Range have shown interest in B&Q's closing stores.

Gardening highlights in the three months to May included chilli plant sales up 30 per cent with best sellers two of the hottest chillies in the world: Trinidad Moruga Scorpion and Bhut Jolokia.

A ‘doorbusters’ promotion over the Easter weekend saw 6,143 mowers sold. The B&Q Club membership programme launched in April has reached 500,000+ members. B&Q distributed 32m customer catalogues.

B&Q sold two million yellow bedding plants as the Easter bank holiday coincided with the bloom of yellow spring flowers such as daffodils and pansies.

Over 6,000 prices have been lowered since March 2014. Sales of Top 150 ‘Core Essentials’ are +42 per cent.

Kingfisher chief executive officer Veronique Laury said: "We have made a solid start to the year against strong comparatives. In the UK, B&Q continued to grow sales volumes and Screwfix delivered an excellent performance, opening its 400th store in May. In France, our businesses performed broadly in line with the market.

"We are also making good early progress with our ‘ONE’ Kingfisher plan to unlock our potential by creating a single, unified company where customer needs come first. Our first ‘sharp’ decisions are being worked on at pace. I am delighted that Arja Taaveniku, our Chief Offer & Supply Chain Officer, joined the team in May, and that the pilot of our unified IT system is on track. We are also pleased to report that we already have agreements to dispose of a quarter of the B&Q stores earmarked for closure. We look forward to sharing more of our plans as the year progresses."

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