DIY giant B&Q has reported like for like sales up 5.7%, helping parent company Kingfisher to beat City forecasts with a 28% increase in group profits.

Kingfisher reported a retail profit of £227m in the 13 weeks to October 31, beating analysts forecasts of between £204m to £225m.

B&Q’s total sales grew 6.3% to £970m. The retailer said sales of DIY and decorative products remained resilient, up around 1%, supported by increasing consumer interest in DIY, and stock clearance activity. Retail profit at B&Q grew 45.2% to £43m. Group chief executive Ian Cheshire said: “This is a strong set of results with our businesses in France, Poland and B&Q UK performing well. With 80% of the quarter’s profit earned outside the UK & Ireland, we are clearly benefiting from our long-established international strategy. Our self-help initiatives continued to boost profitability and cash generation right across the group. 

He added: “We progressed well with our key priorities, management, capital and returns. We completed the process of strengthening the broader senior team with a number of key new appointments. Net debt is now down 90% since the start of 2008 and our seven step programme to improve cash returns (‘Delivering Value’) is well established and delivering encouraging results.”

Overseas, B&Q also did well in Poland and Spain, while in China losses were lower (£7m vs £17m a year ago) following the decision to close 18 stores. France suffered with a 2.4% drop in like for like sales.

Cheshire added: “Looking ahead, we continue to rely on our own initiatives to drive performance and deliver more value for our shareholders and continue to assume no early help from improved consumer demand.”