Kingfisher blamed “unusually adverse weather” for a dramatic drop in B&Q sales during its first quarter.

B&Q like-for-likes slumped 9% during the three months to April 30, while Screwfix posted a 3.6% gain in what Kingfisher chief executive Véronique Laury called “a challenging start to the year”.

The ‘Beast from the East’ dented the top line of B&Q’s UK & Ireland business, as a raft of store closures drove an 8.8% fall in revenues to £828m.

However, sister retailer Screwfix registered a 9% sales uplift to £395m over the same period.

Kingfisher said that the adverse weather accounted for around 6% of B&Q’s like-for-like decline, whle it also shaved 2% off the Screwfix figure.

The DIY giant added that trading conditions in the UK and across most of its European operations were especially tough in February and March, though it said sales improved from April onwards.

Total group sales for the period were down 1.2% to £2.83bn, as group like-for-likes fell 4%.

Despite its troubles during its first quarter, Laury maintained that Kingfisher was making progress with its turnaround plan, having now unified around 40% of its product ranges across its various markets, which include France, Poland Russia and Germany.

The move was introduced as a key part of Laury’s One Kingfisher strategy, which she said was “on track” as it enters its third year. 

Laury said: “Market conditions continue to be mixed. The UK is uncertain, as demonstrated by recent weak retail sales data.

“We are on track to deliver our One Kingfisher strategic milestones for the third year in a row and we continue to see tangible delivery of our plan.”