Kingfisher cashes in on new EU

DIY group Kingfisher has enjoyed a sales explosion in Poland that is coinciding with the expansion of the European Union.

Kingfisher-owned Castorama Poland increased like-for-like sales by 52.7 per cent, taking sales to£80.7 million in the three months to May 1 - up 68.8 per cent in constant currency.

The boost came as shoppers flocked to stores to buy product ahead of a rise in VAT introduced as Poland joined the EU on May 1. Flooring, bathrooms and construction materials all helped push sales up.

However, Kingfisher warned that there may be 'some correction' in future quarters to reflect the surge.

Global sales at Kingfisher during the quarter increased 10.1 per cent to£1.9 billion. Sales at B&Q's UK and Irish stores climbed by 6.5 per cent, or 2.5 per cent like for like, hampered by poor weather and strong seasonal comparisons.

Chief executive Gerry Murphy said: 'This has been an encouraging start to the year for Kingfisher, given the challenging prior year sales comparisons.

The group grew sales and profitability in the UK and internationally in generally competitive markets.'

Kingfisher also has stores in France, Italy, China and Taiwan. Like-for-like sales in China increased by 20.2 per cent to£32.7 million.