Kingfisher's Screwfix chain offsets French woes and weak B&Q sales

Strong growth at its Screwfix business has helped Kingfisher offset falling sales at B&Q and a weak performance in France

KINGFISHER has said it remains on track to meet full-year profit targets as strong growth at its Screwfix business helped offset falling sales at B&Q and a weak performance in France.

Kingfisher notched up a 3 per cent rise in total sales to £3 billion for the third quarter, helped by a 16.6 per cent jump in Screwfix revenues, which drove a 2.5 per cent increase in sales across its UK & Ireland division.

But B&Q sales lagged behind sister outlet Screwfix, with total sales falling 2.8 per cent in the UK & Ireland, and dropping 1.9 per cent on a constant currency and like-for-like basis, due to a recent store closure programme.

Poland was a bright spot across its international operations, with sales rising 11.9 per cent to £379 million for the period, compared with a year earlier.

It helped to make up for weak growth suffered by Kingfisher's French business, which operates through the Castorama and Brico Depot brands.

Its French business only managed to eke out a 0.4 per cent rise in sales in the third quarter.

Chief executive Veronique Laury said trading was following a "similar course" to the first half of the financial year.

"We have seen strong growth at Screwfix and Poland offset by continued weak sales in France, alongside some business disruption from our ONE Kingfisher plan, principally reflecting product availability and clearance.

"We continue to act on the causes of this disruption, which we are confident will ease."

She assured that the company was still set to hit annual targets.

"We remain on track to deliver our full-year strategic milestones for the second year in a row. With plans in place to support our overall performance, we remain comfortable with full-year profit expectations."

The company's third-quarter results also benefited from favourable currency effects. When taken at constant currencies, total sales only rose 0.3 per cent, while like-for-like operations dropped half a percent.

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