Kingfisher chief executive Gerry Murphy said: 'Kingfisher delivered good fourth- quarter sales growth in France, Italy and China, offset by weaker performances in a more challenging UK market, and in a Polish market impacted by last year's VAT charges. With a continued focus on margins, costs and cash flow, Kingfisher expects to announce pre-exceptional profit before tax in line with analysts' estimates.'
In the UK, B&Q's sales grew 2.6 per cent over the quarter to£914.7 million, but like-for-like sales shrank by 1.2 per cent. The retailer said ranges such as flooring, lighting and wall decorations declined, while kitchen and bathroom sales performed well. Discounted ranges also sold strongly.
The retailer opened two new format warehouse stores during the quarter. Its direct building supplies arm Screwfix benefited from a new fulfilment centre, following acute delivery problems before Christmas.