Kingfisher’s new French chief executive, Veronique Laury, faces a tough task to arrest the tumbling sales in her home country which are taking their toll on the FTSE 100 company.
In its third quarter results the B&Q and Screwfix owner Kingfisher recorded a 3.6 per cent drop in sales to £2.8bn, while retail profit fell 11.8 per cent to £225m.
However, sales in the UK and Ireland rose 4.8 per cent to £1.148bn, while profits rose 11.1 per cent to £70m. Screwfix performed particularly well, with sales rising 25.2 per cent. B&Q's 0.9 per cent rise in sales was more modest.
However in France sales dropped by 9.3 per cent to £1.064bn, which the company said was due to an “ongoing weak market" and a "weak economic backdrop".
Laury takes over from departing chief executive Sir Ian Kingshire, who admitted the company is "cautious on the outlook, especially in France", in January.
Trading conditions in our largest and most significant market, France, were particularly difficult and deteriorated across the quarter, impacted by the weak economic backdrop.In the UK however, where conditions have been more favourable, we have delivered LFL growth with Screwfix performing particularly well, delivering a 25% increase in sales on top of very strong growth last year.Overall, we remain cautious on the outlook, especially in France, and continue to focus on margin and cost initiatives to support our performance.