Home improvement retailer Kingfisher reported weaker than expected performance in its UK and Chinese businesses in the fourth quarter, but remained confident that full-year profit would meet expectations.

The group reported total sales up 4 per cent on a 13-week basis, and like-for-likes down 0.5 per cent. In the UK, B&Q reported sales of£874 million, up 0.2 per cent, but like-for-like sales fell 1.7 per cent. In China, sales dropped 3.4 per cent to£122 million and like-for-likes slumped 7.5 per cent.

Chief executive Ian Cheshire said the UK remained a tough market, but B&Q had benefited from strong sales at revamped stores and the introduction of new ranges.

Chinese sales were hit by new Government regulations on suppliers. Cheshire will visit the country to assess how best to move forward. “I am not looking to exit China,” he said.

Broker Bernstein was encouraged that Cheshire is focused on improving profitability, as well as capital efficiency and said Kingfisher has a credible self-help plan to address tough conditions at B&Q.