Sales for the three months were £1.212bn, up +82.7% on the same three months in 2020, when stores were closed because of the coronavirus pandemic. Percentage two-year like-for-like change is +42.3%. Overall, parent company Kingfisher is 64% up, at £1.8bn turnover for the three months. Ecommerce is up 250%. Highlights include selling 3,000 sheds, 361,000m of turf and 1.5m houseplants.
Thierry Garnier, Kingfisher chief executive officer, said: “I am extremely grateful to all our colleagues for their continuous hard work and flexibility, enabling our banners to remain trading safely during these difficult times.
The Group delivered strong sales growth in the first quarter, with LFL sales up 64% and up by 23% on a two-year basis. This is a testament to the efforts of our colleagues, the skill and professionalism of our supply chain teams, and the responsiveness in managing daily changes within all our store operations. We continue to see high levels of demand from both new and existing customers, with clear progress made on our ‘Powered by Kingfisher’ strategic priorities, especially in four key areas.
“Firstly, e-commerce continues to be our fastest-growing channel with two-year growth of over 250%, now accounting for 21% of Group sales. During the quarter we established a new agile operating model for our technology and digital teams, and further strengthened these teams with multiple new hires.
“Secondly, we are excited to have launched Screwfix as a pure-play online retailer in France in late April. Thirdly, our new own exclusive brand kitchen range is now available in all key markets, with very positive results despite lockdown restrictions.
“And finally we continue to develop, test and roll out multiple innovative propositions for our customers, with more compact store tests, a new mobile app for Screwfix, self-checkout terminals and our new tool for 3D kitchen and bathroom design. We have also started to roll out our NeedHelp services marketplace in B&Q and Poland.
“With the strong start to the year, we now anticipate first half sales and adjusted pre-tax profit to be ahead of our previous expectations. Whilst the second half of the financial year remains naturally uncertain, we continue to see supportive long-term trends for our industry and are confident of continued outperformance of our wider markets.”
"Given the profile of trading during FY 20/21, we continue to expect distinct performances in the two halves of FY 21/22.
"With the strength of our performance to date and the continued delivery against our strategic objectives, we now expect mid-to-high teens Group LFL sales growth in H1 21/22 (previously ‘low double-digit’). As a result, we anticipate a higher H1 adjusted pre-tax profit, in the range of c.£580 to 600 million.
"For H2 21/22, we maintain our original guidance and continue to plan for Group LFL sales scenarios in H2 of -15% to -5%.
Amy Higginbotham, senior retail analyst at GlobalData, said: “Kingfisher has had a spectacular start to its new financial year. The DIY specialist benefited from ongoing high demand for DIY, as well as weak comparatives in the prior year as COVID-19 took hold in Europe. Its ‘Powered by Kingfisher’ strategy, which focuses on growing its online business and taking a more localised approach to its operating model, has also allowed Kingfisher to effectively respond to changing consumer behaviour amid COVID-19. Group like-for-like (l-f-l) sales rose 64.2% year-on-year and 22.5% on FY2019/20 (a two-year comparison) in its Q1 to the end of April.
“The retailer achieved high double-digit sales growth in all of the markets it operates in apart from Poland, where lockdown restrictions resulted in the temporary closure of stores for five weeks of the period. France was a particular highlight, with sales at Castorama and Brico Dépôt rising 95.8% and 101.7% respectively. Investment in online, such as the launch of a new Screwfix app, also continues to pay off – online sales grew 63% year-on-year and 258% on a two-year basis.
“Demand for home improvement remains strong, with Kingfisher reporting that l-f-l sales in its Q2 to date (to 15 May 2021) grew 8.2% year-on-year, despite the reopening of leisure in the UK & Ireland (its largest market). Kingfisher has raised its profit guidance and now expects to achieve an adjusted pre-tax profit in the region of £580m-£600m for its H1.
“The remainder of FY2021/22 will be more challenging for Kingfisher as it comes up against strong comparatives; the retailer expects group l-f-l sales will drop between 5% and 15% in its H2. Kingfisher plans to expand into new markets, having recently signed a franchise agreement with the Al-Futtaim Group to open B&Q stores in the Middle East, and this will help mitigate declines in its core markets; GlobalData forecasts the home improvement and gardening market in the Middle East & North Africa will grow 3.1% in 2021. Kingfisher’s ongoing investment in online, new smaller store formats (for example B&Q concessions within ASDA stores in the UK), and new ranges (such as its new own brand kitchen range, which is now available in all markets) will also continue to support it.”
Comedian Vic Reeves has launched a B&Q £10,000 best garden award at diy.com/projects.outdoors