Kingfisher hit by French woes

Kasmira Jefford
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THE CHIEF executive of Kingfisher said uncertainty over the French government’s future tax policies had hit consumer confidence in its largest market, as it posted a six per cent drop in third quarter profit.

The group, which runs B&Q and Screwfix in the UK as well as Castorama and Brico Depot in France, reported profits of £257m in the 13 weeks to 27 October.

Like-for-like sales fell 2.8 per cent in France and were down 3.8 per cent in the UK and Ireland. Total sales fell 3.9 per cent to £2.71bn.

Cheshire described the outlook for 2013 as “opaque” and said it was tough to predict when conditions in the UK and Europe would improve.

He said the backdrop in France was “very uncertain”, due to the lack of clarity on the budget proposals from President Francois Hollande.

“It’s a temporary period of uncertainty rather than a major dislocation in the economy but it could be a six month uncertainty while people try and work out what their tax position’s going to be,” he said.