Kingfisher's share price drops as French business holds back sales

 
Helen Cahill
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A view of B & Q 'do-it-yourself' store in West Lon
B&Q's sales are doing well (Source: Getty)

Kingfisher's share price has dropped this morning after the company revealed its French business has been holding it back.

The retailer – known for B&Q and Screwfix in the UK – has had good sales this side of the channel, but its share price was down 1.43 per cent at the time of writing.

The figures

Kingfisher's like-for-like sales in the UK were up 5.8 per cent, with sales in Screwfix jumping 12.7 per cent, and B&Q's sales increasing by 3.5 per cent. Like-for-likes in Poland were also strong, rising by 6.7 per cent.

In France, however, like-for-like sales were down 3.6 per cent. Kingfisher's brand Castorama suffered from a sales drop of 3.8 per cent, and sales at Brico Depot were down 3.3 per cent.

Why it's interesting

The retail group said this summer that its French operations had been disrupted by wet weather and industrial action. Today's results show the company has been unable to heal the divide, and with a sales drop of 3.6 per cent, it performed worse than expected. Analysts had been predicting like-for-like sales in France to fall by two per cent.

Haitong research analysts said: "France will now have now seen like-for-likes decline for five years by the end of the current year, even without the incursion of large-scale online in the DIY market.

"There is not much here to de-rail the overall story of longer-term renewal of the business. But France looks like it is becoming more of a struggle and the solutions may be more than just a cyclical rebound."

What Kingfisher said

Kingfisher's chief executive Veronique Laury said: "Third-quarter trading conditions have followed a similar trend to the first half. We have delivered another solid sales performance overall, trading in line with expectations. Sales have been driven by Poland and the UK, especially Screwfix, offset by softer sales in France."

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