Weak home improvement market
Europe's biggest home improvement group Kingfisher has revealed tough trading conditions for its B&Q chain in the 13 weeks ending October 28, amidst a weak UK home improvement market.

Group sales were up 8.5 per cent to£2.24 billion, with retail profit rising 10.5 per cent to£173 million, but B&Q's total sales increased by just 0.2 per cent to£954.6 million.

The home improvement retailer has been cutting prices and revamping stores in a bid to encourage sales. However, it has seen a decline in spending on big purchases, such as kitchens, because consumers are faced with rising utility bills and higher interest rates.

According to the company, B&Q's new format Warehouse stores are trading well, with eight revamps underway and 25 planned for next year.

The group's French businesses grew in market share, with total sales up 8.5 per cent to£798 million and its Asian outlets returned to profit, following the integration of last year's acquisition in China.

Group chief executive Gerry Murphy said: 'Kingfisher delivered solid overall sales and retail profit growth in the third quarter, with strong performances from our international businesses.

'In a UK home improvement market, which continues to be weak and price sensitive, B&Q remains on course with its programme announced last year of improving its offer and updating its stores.'

Kingfisher shares were down 2.2 per cent, the biggest fallers in the FTSE 100 index and valuing the firm at about£5.7 billion.