DIY retailer Kingfisher Group’s adjusted pre-tax profit climbed 23 per cent to £214 million in the first half but the retailer warned of tougher trading conditions in the second half.
The figure excludes costs relating to Kingfisher’s restructuring programme in its Chinese operation. Group like-for-likes fell 2.6 per cent in the 26 weeks to August 2. Total sales rose 2.5 per cent.
Profits at the retailer’s UK arm – which comprises B&Q, Screwfix and Trade Depot – increased 9.1 per cent to£93 million. Like-for-likes fell 4.8 per cent. B&Q’s like-for-likes fell 4.6 per cent because of weak outdoor season and a slowdown in consumer expenditure.
Kingfisher’s french operation performed better, with profit increasing from£105 million to£128 million in the period. Like-for-likes fell 0.7 per cent.
B&Q China sales declined 19.4 per cent, with losses of£17 million, partly because of a weak housing market and internal operational issues. But Kingfisher said the “market remains fundamentally attractive and an important long-term market opportunity”.
At Kingfisher’s other international operations – including China, Germany, Russia, Poland, Spain, Ireland and Turkey – profit climbed 15.3 per cent to£56 million, while like-for-like sales fell 0.6 per cent.
Kingfisher Group chief executive Ian Cheshire said: “We have delivered a solid set of results in a difficult period for consumers. We have grown sales and our profits have benefited from actions to improve margin and manage costs. We continue to anticipate very tough times ahead, especially in the UK, but remain focused on providing the best choice and value to our customers while managing our costs and working capital tightly.”