B&Q and Screwfix owner Kingfisher has reported increased sales and profits at the interim mark, but said “business disruption” hurt its like-for-like sales.
The DIY retail group reported a 0.9% rise in underlying pre-tax profits to £440m in the six months to July 31, buoyed by a 4.5% rise in sales to £6bn, although sales declined 1.3% on a constant currency basis.
The DIY giant’s like-for-like sales also declined 1.3% during the period.
It said “business disruption” associated with its ongoing transformation plan and clearing out old ranges sliced around 2% off its like-for-likes during the period. It was also impacted by weaker sales in France.
The retail group brought forward its plans to roll out a unified IT platform, originally due to commence in the second half of its current financial year. It said this applied “stress to some of the business functions” during the period.
Group online sales now stand at 5% and one hour click-and-collect is available in all B&Q stores.
Kingfisher said that sales at Screwfix and across Poland continued to grow.
B&Q and Screwfix
The group’s UK and Ireland sales slipped 0.4% overall to £2.6bn – up 1.1% on a like-for-like basis.
The division’s fall in overall sales was exacerbated by a 6.3% drop in B&Q’s sales to £1.8bn and a 2.3% dip in its like-for-likes.
Screwfix, which opened 16 new outlets during the period taking its overall bricks-and-mortar estate to 533 stores, posted an 18.7% jump in total sales to £727m.
Its like-for-like sales increased 11.7%, driven by a 109% and a 47% rise in mobile and click-and-collect sales respectively.
Speaking about Kingfisher’s group performance, chief executive Véronique Laury said: “As planned, this first half has seen a significant increase in the level of transformation activity.
“Changes are now visible in our stores with new product ranges being well received by customers. We are also changing our ways of working alongside the continued rollout of our unified IT platform. The pace is quick and impactful and is reflected in our performance.
“We are on track to deliver our full year strategic milestones for the second year in a row. We understand the reality of our customers’ lives and are creating a unified and unique offer based on their needs.
“We are buying as ‘One’ and are starting to see the customer and financial benefits coming through. This is all underpinned by our IT rollout which remains on track, and efficiency benefits which continue to deliver.
“We remain confident in our ability to deliver our five-year plan and in the benefits it will generate.”
Looking ahead, Kingfisher has taken a cautious view on the second half of its financial year given the macro economic backdrop in the UK and progress it said it needed to make in France.
Chief Financial Officer Karen Witts said the company had not yet seen any significant change in British consumers’ behaviour despite a squeeze on their spending power.