B&Q decline takes toll on Kingfisher

SALES at Kingfisher’s B&Q have slumped, with the company warning of “challenging” trading conditions.

Like-for-like sales at B&Q, which has 330 stores, fell 6.7 per cent in the 11 weeks to 16 July.

Kingfisher’s UK sales overall dropped by 5.5 per cent, with a good performance by trade supplier Screwfix offsetting some of the poor performance at B&Q.

The company claimed B&Q was hurt by rival Focus DIY going into administration and cutting prices to clear stocks.

Kingfisher chief executive Ian Cheshire said: “These are testing times for retailers. The UK market remains challenging compounded by disruption in the second quarter from heavy stock clearance activity by a major competitor closing down.”

Sales at Kingfisher’s two French chains Castorama and Brico Depot were much stronger, adding 3.7 per cent on a same-store basis during the 11 weeks.

Across the Kingfisher Group, including its outlets in eastern Europe, sales were 0.5 per cent down.

Cheshire added: “We expect to emerge from this year in excellent shape and well prepared to start delivering the next phase of our growth plans.”

Shares in Kingfisher jumped 5.6 per cent yesterday.