DIY giant Kingfisher’s flagship B&Q UK chain beat second-quarter sales expectations, helped by business improvements and the collapse of rivals.

Kingfisher posted a 0.9 per cent rise in group sales in the 10 weeks to July 11, when like-for-likes slipped 1.9 per cent.

The UK business notched up a 0.1 per cent total sales advance and same-store sales were down 0.6 per cent.

B&Q notched up a 1.5 per cent rise in total sales and like-for-likes edged ahead 0.7 per cent. Sales of kitchens, bathrooms and bedrooms were strong, assisted by the demise of competititors during the recession.

Kingfisher group chief executive Ian Cheshire said the group “continued to perform well in a tough environment” and that progress was being made on his seven-point improvement plan.

Cheshire said: “B&Q in the UK was again stronger than anticipated as it continued to capitalise on the growing trend for home and garden DIY, low-cost room makeovers and competitor withdrawal in the bigger ticket categories.”

Singer Capital Markets analyst Matthew McEachran expected the roll-out of a new showroom fit-out, the launch of a new furniture range and expansion of the TradePoint business to sustain UK momentum.

For the 23 weeks to July 11, Kingfisher reported a 1.7 per cent rise in group sales and a 1.8 per cent comparable-store decline. In the UK the figures for that period were up 1.6 per cent and 0.2 per cent respectively.