DIY giant Kingfisher has reported rising third-quarter profits but a strong UK performance was offset by weaker trading in France.
Kingfisher retail profit edged up 0.4% to £223m at constant currencies, but fell 6.6% at reported currencies. The B&Q owner said it was hit by £17m of adverse foreign exchange movements on the translation of non-sterling profits. It was also hit by £5m of store development in France and Poland.
Group like-for-likes were up 2.6% and sales rose 4% to £2.65bn at constant currencies, a fall of 2.5% at reported currencies.
In the UK and Ireland like-for-likes increased 4.6%, driven by a 13.3% surge at Screwfix. B&Q delivered a 2.4% rise. Retail profit was up 14% to £80m here and sales increased 5.5% to £1.21bn.
UK gross margins fell 120 basis points “reflecting mix effects from strong growth in Screwfix and higher sales of seasonal categories in B&Q”. This was offset by ongoing cost initiatives at B&Q and the strong overall performance at Screwfix, Kingfisher said.
In France like-for-likes advanced marginally by 0.1% but retail profit at constant currencies fell 7.5% to £109m.
“We continue to make good progress with our One Kingfisher plan. – the unified IT system, a key enabler of this journey”
Véronique Laury, Kingfisher
Kingfisher chief executive Véronique Laury said: “Third-quarter trading conditions have followed a similar trend to the first half of the year, reflecting the more encouraging macroeconomic backdrop in the UK offset by a softer market in France.
“In the meantime, we continue to make good progress with our One Kingfisher plan. The unified IT system, a key enabler of this journey, continues to progress well.
“I am very encouraged by development work on the first wave of the unified ‘core essential’ ranges, which will land in stores from next year. We now look forward to updating you on the detail of our long term strategy in early 2016.”
In its other international arm, like-for-likes were up 2.8% and total sales up 5.4% to £452m.