DIY giant Kingfisher has reported a 1.8% drop in like-for-like sales in its second quarter after a slowdown in trading in France and Poland.

Total group sales increased 0.8% for the 10 weeks to July 12 as the company’s UK & Ireland market was also hit by a like-for-like sales fall, according to a second-quarter pre-close update.

Like-for-likes in the UK dipped by 1.3% on the back of B&Q sales falling 3.2% year-on-year, but this was offset by a strong performance from Screwfix after its like-for-likes surged by 11.8%.

Kingfisher group chief executive Sir Ian Cheshire said trading was “always expected to be more difficult” after a “very strong” second quarter last year and a robust first quarter that was boosted by the weather.

He added: “However, our markets in Q2, notably in June, have been slower than anticipated particularly in France and Poland.

“It is unclear whether this recent weakness is short-term phasing in nature, though we will know more by our interims in September having then traded through our key summer months.”

The retailer is now increasing cost-cutting in order to boost second-quarter sales.

Cheshire also reported the acquisition of French home improvement retailer Mr Bricolage has “now become binding and will progress to anti-trust clearances”.

The acquisition was announced in April and is being carried out to add a third complementary business to its Castorama and Brico Dépôt businesses in France.

Cheshire said the deal “will provide us with an attractive growth opportunity in our most important market”.