DIY giant Kingfisher has posted a sales advance in its first quarter, when the UK business outperformed the French division.

Kingfisher reported a 1.7% rise in group sales, on a constant currency basis, to £2.84bn in the quarter to April 30. Like-for-likes rose 0.8%.

Sales at B&Q UK and Ireland rose 2.8% like-for-like and the same on a total basis to £851m, while at Screwfix revenues were up 9.6% to £433m.

In France, however, like-for-likes at Castorama slid 3.7% and were down 5.1% in total to just over £1bn.

Kingfisher chief executive Véronique Laury, who is stepping down from the role, said strategic progress was being made.

Laury said: “This year we are focused on completing the building of our ‘engine’ and making our innovation more visible to customers.

“Our new outdoor range was rolled out to all markets in the quarter alongside a globally co-ordinated marketing campaign. We are also excited to be launching several new ranges this year which are unique to us and will further differentiate us from our competitors. In addition, we are piloting a new convenience store concept.

“At this early stage of the year our expectations for the full year are unchanged, and we remain confident in our ability to deliver significant financial benefits over time.”