DIY group struggles despite strong overseas trading
DIY group Kingfisher, which owns B&Q, has continued to struggle to grow sales, despite an increasingly strong performance in its international markets.

An 8.4 per cent fall in like-for-like sales at B&Q was blamed for an overall like-for-like fall of 0.3 per cent at the group in the 13 weeks to October 29. Profit at B&Q halved to£53.3 million, compared with a 21.4 per cent fall in group profits to£157.1 million.

'The UK retail environment continues to weaken, significantly affecting B&Q's sales and profits,' said Kingfisher group chief executive Gerry Murphy. 'We have taken firm action to support sales and manage costs and to ensure that B&Q is well placed for market recovery.'

In France, Kingfisher said like-for-like sales increased 6 per cent, compared with Banque de France figures indicating that the DIY sector grew 3.6 per cent in the same period.

Brico Depot led the way in France, with like-for-like growth of 9.4 per cent. Larger sister chain Castorama reported an increase of 3.7 per cent.

Kingfisher also has interests in Poland, Italy, China and Taiwan, all of which reported strong performances. Half of the group's sales are now accrued outside the UK.