DIY giant Kingfisher has reported flat group like-for-likes in its second quarter as the UK and Ireland outshone its French business.

Group total sales at the B&Q owner were up 3.7% in the 10 weeks to July 7.

In the UK and Ireland like-for-likes rose 1.1% as total sales jumped 5%.  Kingfisher said gross margin is expected to be down “reflecting the markdowns needed to clear horticultural stocks, additional promotions to stimulate activity and the decision to accelerate range clearance all into Q2”.

In its French business, which has been outperforming the domestic arm in recent quarters, like-for-likes dropped 2.3% as total sales slipped 0.6%. The retailer said the fall reflected “different trading patterns this year in the run up to July public holidays”.

Total sales in Kingfisher’s other international division – comprising Poland, Russia, Spain, China, and Turkey - grew 9.3%, powered by a 48.5% surge in Russia.

Kingfisher’s group chief executive Ian Cheshire said: “The unprecedented wet weather across Northern Europe has continued throughout our second quarter so far, clearly impacting footfall and consumer demand for outdoor and seasonal products.

“However, additional marketing and promotional activity helped encourage customers to switch some of their activity to internal repairs and projects, partially offsetting the weather related weakness, particularly in the UK. We also took the necessary promotional action to clear horticultural stocks.

“Whilst these exceptional weather patterns have impacted us in the short term we continued to progress with the key steps of our ‘Creating the Leader’ programme of self-help, including accelerating the introduction of new, common ranges in the quarter.

“I remain confident that this programme will see us emerge as a world class retailer at helping our customers have better, more sustainable homes.”