Sales at B&Q washed out by dreadful weather

One of the wettest summers ever has sluiced £30m of profit down the drain at B&Q and other Kingfisher names as demand for gardening goods and outdoor tools plunged.

Kingfisher group chief executive Ian Cheshire said: "This has been a tough first half with unprecedented wet weather throughout the key spring and summer seasons.

"This affected footfall and demand for outdoor maintenance, gardening and leisure products, which normally account for a significant proportion of our first half sales."

Kingfisher’s half-year results revealed total like-for-like sales at B&Q stores in UK and Ireland dropped 6 per cent to £2bn in a year. Sales of outdoor seasonal products fell 11 per cent, with average footfall down a fifth in severely weather-affected weeks.

The bad results follow continual downpours throughout the summer months as Met Office records revealed the summer of 2012 to be the wettest since 1912. This helped knock off over 24 per cent from retail profit across stores sending the total to £125m.

Sales of building products were also hit by the dreary weather as customers switched focus to indoor DIY projects, said Cheshire, adding that a rearguard action to clear excess seasonal stocks and drive indoor product sales had helped ease the pain.

"While we were unable to offset fully the adverse weather impacts, our efforts meant we exited the first half in as good shape as possible and with net cash on the balance sheet."

He added: "While an uncertain economic backdrop has been a feature of our markets for some time, we recognise this is unlikely to improve for a while. In the short term we will continue to focus on trading effectively, whatever the market conditions."

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