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Growing DIY trend boosts B&Q profits

DIY chain B&amp;Q was hailed the &ldquo;jewel in the crown&rdquo; by Kingfisher&rsquo;s chief executive Ian Cheshire yesterday, as the growing trend of home improvement boosted sales and lifted profits ahead of expectations.<br /><br />Kingfisher yesterday said pre-tax profits leapt by 35 per cent to &pound;288m in the 26 weeks to 1 August, from &pound;214m the year before.<br /><br />Kingfisher was forced to rush out an early trading statement last week after draft figures were release by mistake. Prior to that analysts were forecasting profits of just &pound;268m.<br /><br />Cheshire laughed off the leak, saying &ldquo;the results are so good, we released them twice.&rdquo;<br /><br />The group&rsquo;s star performer was B&amp;Q, whose profits jumped 66 per cent to &pound;137m, as sales grew by 2.6 per cent. Total group sales grew by 1.4 per cent.<br /><br />Cheshire said that B&amp;Q had successfully &ldquo;capitalised on the growing DIY trend&rdquo;.<br /><br />&ldquo;People are beginning to be more interested in their homes as a place to live, rather than just viewing them as a financial asset.&rdquo;<br /><br />The group said that it had also increased its market share during the period, stealing shoppers from collapsed rivals such as MFI.<br /><br />Castorama, the firm&rsquo;s French business, reported flat sales and profit in a severely tough environment, while the group said it had been able to close 44 loss-making stores in China, in line with expectations.<br />