Kingfisher has raised its profit predictions for 2021/2022 as its sales increased in almost all markets.

The home and DIY giant reported total sales were up 61.9% in constant currency to £3.4bn, while like-for-like sales grew 64.2% in the first quarter to April 30.

Kingfisher said this reflected strong demand across all categories, although against weak comparables due to enforced store closures in the same quarter last year.

On a two-year basis, recorded like-for-like sales were up 22.5%.

Ecommerce sales were particularly strong – up 63% year on year – and 258% on a two-year basis. Online sales now account for 21% of the group’s total.

Kingfisher grew sales across all its markets except Poland, where stores have now begun to reopen following closures during the quarter.

The group has consequently raised its half-year forecast. It now expects like-for-like sales to rise in the “mid-to-high teens” and has adjusted pre-tax profits to exceed expectations in the range of £580m to £600m.

Chief executive Thierry Garnier said: “We continue to see high levels of demand from both new and existing customers, with clear progress made on our ‘Powered by Kingfisher’ strategic priorities, especially in four key areas.

“Firstly, ecommerce continues to be our fastest-growing channel with two-year growth of over 250%, now accounting for 21% of group sales. During the quarter, we established a new agile operating model for our technology and digital teams, and further strengthened these teams with multiple new hires.

“Secondly, we are excited to have launched Screwfix as a pureplay online retailer in France in late April.

“Thirdly, our new own exclusive brand kitchen range is now available in all key markets, with very positive results despite lockdown restrictions.

“And, finally, we continue to develop, test and roll out multiple innovative propositions for our customers, with more compact store tests, a new mobile app for Screwfix, self-checkout terminals and our new tool for 3D kitchen and bathroom design.

“We have also started to roll out our NeedHelp services marketplace in B&Q and Poland.

“With the strong start to the year, we now anticipate first-half sales and adjusted pre-tax profit to be ahead of our previous expectations. While the second half of the financial year remains naturally uncertain, we continue to see supportive long-term trends for our industry and are confident of continued outperformance of our wider markets.”

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