Kingfisher has reported an 8.2% increase in third quarter profits, but like for like sales were down 4.2% in the UK.
Overall the group made a retail profit of £240m, up 8.2% at constant exchange rates. Total sales were up by 0.3% on the same basis, but group like for likes were down 1.2%.
The business blamed tough comparatives for the UK like for like decline, which included a 5.1% fall at B&Q UK & Ireland. The UK’s retail profit was flat at £46m, but within that figure B&Q’s contribution fell from £43m to £38m. Gross margin improved by 110 basis points helped by more direct sourcing and a reduction in shrinkage. The TradePoint concept has helped trade sales grow from 9% to 17% of store sales, while Screwfix sales 4.1% to £127m and retail profit increased by £5m to £8m.
France continued to perform better than the UK with a 1.8 like for like increase, driven by a strong showing from Castorama, while Spain and Turkey performed well and Poland was solid. In China total sales were down 15.6% to £93m due largely to store closures. Like for likes were down 3.7%. The company said its turnaround plan in China was on course and that it expected its operations in the country to be profitable in the fourth quarter.
Group chief executive Ian Cheshire highlighted the performance of the non-UK businesses, which accounted for 80% of profit in the quarter. “I am pleased that our well-established programme of self-help initiatives continued to deliver another solid performance,” he said, adding that “our sourcing initiatives and scale are increasingly being brought to bear to improve our customer offer and enhance our profitability.”
Separately, B&Q has set up a Junior Board to help advise the retailer on “next generation sustainability”. The initiative will give young people “more involvement in the design process of sustainable products” as the retailer looks for “new solutions to the challenges being faced by industry and homeowners seeking to cut their carbon emissions”.
Teenagers aged between 17 and 19 years old will have the opportunity to join the Junior Board next year.