Kingfisher group retail profit plunged 5.9% to £257m in its third quarter to October 27, despite UK and Ireland profits advancing.

However, at constant currencies group retail profit remained flat. Total group like-for-likes slipped 2.8% over the quarter and total sales fell 3.9%.

UK and Ireland retail profit jumped 5.7% to £59m over the period, despite like-for-likes dropping 3.8%.

Kingfisher group chief executive Ian Cheshire said: “Following a particularly tough first half, I am pleased that our teams’ hard work has delivered a solid profit performance in our third quarter, one of our most significant trading periods in the year. Our markets remain challenging, with consumer confidence still weak and so we maintain our strong focus on margin, costs and cash.

“Kingfisher is in good shape and I remain enthusiastic about our longer-term prospects.”

At B&Q in the UK and Ireland, like-for-likes declined 4% and total sales slipped 2.3% to £906m, which the retailer said was due to the weak consumer backdrop and a “particularly challenging” environment in Ireland. However, retail profit increased 1.7% to £45m at the retailer as gross margins increased 50 basis points.

Screwfix total sales soared 10.9% to £149m, benefiting from the roll-out of new stores and its click, pay and collect scheme. Retail profit jumped 19.8% to £14m at the group.