B&Q owner Kingfisher has suffered a fall in first-quarter like-for-likes, although its UK businesses outperformed its other markets.

Like-for-like sales in Kingfisher’s UK and Ireland arm, which also includes Screwfix, advanced 3.5% on a constant currency basis during the quarter to April 30.

The increase was driven by Screwfix, which enjoyed a 12.6% jump in like-for-like sales, while B&Q’s edged up 0.5% during the period.

Total sales jumped at the even quicker rate of 20.3% at Screwfix to £362m, but its stablemate B&Q suffered a 4.6% decline to £908m.

Kingfisher said the drop in sales at B&Q – currently searching for a new boss following the departure of Michael Loeve – was driven by the annualisation of its store closure programme.

Despite the overall success of its British business, Kingfisher said group like-for-like sales slipped 0.6% during the quarter as a result of “continued weaker sales in France” and “some business disruption” as boss Véronique Laury continues to implement her ’One Kingfisher’ strategy.

Like-for-like sales in its French business tumbled 5.5%, while total sales fell 5% on a constant currency basis to £1.08bn.

Both Castorama and Brico Depot registered like-for-like sales declines of 4.3% and 6.8% respectively.

In Kingfisher’s other international markets, Poland was the only one to deliver an increase in sales, growing like-for-likes 3.5%.

Its Russian and Spanish businesses suffered falls of 7.8% and 1.2% respectively.

‘On track’

Laury said Kingfisher’s transformation remained “in line with our plans,” but warned it was “experiencing some business disruption given the volume of change.”

The home and DIY giant is in the process of clearing old ranges, remerchandising new lines and rolling out a unified IT platform.

Yet Laury insisted Kingfisher remained “on track to deliver our Year 2 strategic milestones.”

She added: “Early customer reaction to our new ranges is encouraging, especially in France where our new unique bathroom ranges are launching first.

“We are also progressing well with our IT platform, which is now live in nearly a third of our Castorama France stores and which will enable us to build a much stronger digital offer.

“We remain confident in the size of the prize and our ability to deliver our long-term plan.”