B&Q owner sales up three per cent

Quarter two sales rose by three per cent at Kingfisher, with seasonal up almost 10 per cent, and with "no clear evidence" that Brexit has hit sales.

Kingfisher said the performance was "solid" and the positive like-for-like sales were driven by the UK and Poland. UK sales were £1.35bn in the quarter to 31 July and international sales were £3bn.

Kingfisher chief executive Veronique Laury said: "We have delivered another solid sales performance in Q2 driven by the UK and Poland. In the UK, the EU referendum result has created uncertainty for the economic outlook, although there has been no clear evidence of an impact on demand so far on our businesses. In France, widespread industrial action and exceptionally wet weather created a more challenging environment, after a more encouraging Q1. We remain cautious on the short-term outlook.

"In the meantime, we continue to focus on our ONE Kingfisher plan, based on always putting customer needs first. We look forward to updating you on our early progress at our half year results next month."

Laury did not refer to rival Homebase, now owned by Wesfarmers.

UK and Ireland sales rose by 7.2 per cent like-for-like, driven by Screwfix. B&Q UK and Ireland sales were +0.3 per cent despite store closures, and like-for-like were up 5.6 per cent.

Seasonal like-for-likes were +9.6 per cent. Like-for-like of non-seasonal, including showroom +3.4 per cent. 

French like-for-like seasonals fell, but in Poland and elsewhere were up by about 10 per cent. 

Garden centre consultant t Neville Stein said: "Like for like sales for B &Q in Britain and Ireland for the three months to 31 July are up 7.2 per cent. These figures do include their Screwfix business which appears to be performing very strongly. It appears, that after some significant reorganisation, including store closures the company is back on track, with analysts forecasting  a pre tax profit for the year 2017/2017 of £692 million. This compares favourably with the pre-tax profit in 2015/16 of £686 million.
"These figures are encouraging particularly as they come after the Brexit vote and seem to indicated that concerns over the immediate economy as a result of the decision to leave the EU have not resulted in a drop in sales. 
"From a perspective of the horticultural industry I believe that we need a strong B & Q.
"After all they could become an early indicator of changes in the home improvement market as a result of Brexit - if they don't do well, then this may in a small way reflect changes that might be likely to happen regarding the demand for plants, landscaping materials and general garden improvement products amongst independent garden retailers. From a production basis B&Q is a significant purchaser of garden plants so of course its in our interest as a horticultural industry to see them perform well." 

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