B&Q owner Kingfisher has recorded a 4.2% slump in first-quarter group like-for-likes and a decline in profits as poor weather hit footfall.
Group sales at B&Q fell 0.4% in the 13 weeks to May 4 to £2.6bn while retail profits dropped 28% to £114m.
In the UK and Ireland, total sales fell 3.4% to £1.07bn and like-for-likes fell 4.7%. Profits fell 32.1% to £50m.
Group chief executive Ian Cheshire said unseasonable weather, particularly in March, and the early fall of Easter were responsible for the “vast majority” of its profit decline.
The retailer said sales improved at the end of the quarter following a return to more normal weather patterns.
B&Q’s total sales declined by 5.7% to £913m and were down 5.6% on a like-for-like basis.
Sales of outdoor products, which can represent 30% of first-quarter sales, fell and footfall dropped 10%. Sales of bathrooms fell amid a competitive market while kitchen and indoor products fared better.
In Ireland, following the conclusion of an examinership process, one B&Q store closed and “significant rent reductions will be achieved across the remaining stores”.
In its Screwfix trade arm, total sales were up 12.6% to £155m and like-for-likes rose 1.7% due to an improving smaller tradesman market and an expansion of its store estate.
Total sales in Kingfisher’s French arm edged down 0.9%to £1.08bn while like-for-likes fell 5.6% and profit was down 14.4% to £66m.
Cheshire said: “Market conditions have remained challenging in the first quarter compounded by the effects of an early Easter and unseasonably cold weather across Europe. As a result, general footfall was down and demand for outdoor maintenance, gardening and leisure products was adversely affected for a second year running.
“These impacts were particularly acute in March, which resulted in that month accounting for the vast majority of the quarter’s profit decline. However, our performance towards the end of the quarter was encouraging following a return to more normal weather patterns.
“Looking ahead, we still have our key summer season to come and we are ready to capitalise on any improvement in conditions during this peak trading period. We will continue to focus hard on our margin and cost initiatives helping us to reinforce our value credentials with customers during these challenging times.”