B&Q owner Kingfisher beat profit forecasts and raised its dividend yesterday – helped by a rise in sales of eco-friendly products.
Pre-tax profit excluding one-off items jumped 49 per cent to £547m for the year to the end of January, above the average forecast of £543m.
As well as raising its dividend for the first time in five years the company said it would double capital spending to £400m. Group sales rose five per cent to £10.5bn.
Its sales of eco-friendly products topped £1bn for the first time also helping to fuel the profit surge.
Kingfisher raised its final dividend by five per cent to 3.575p
Chief executive Ian Cheshire said the results were positive but warned that high street spending was still fragile. He said: “Looking ahead, we remain cautious on the outlook for consumer demand across Europe.
“However, we are confident that our experienced management team, successful international strategy and buying scale mean we will be able to drive continued growth through our own actions.
“Recognising our improved profitability, cash generation and future growth prospects I am delighted that the final dividend payment will be increased, the first dividend growth for our shareholders in five years.”
The group said that it had halved losses in its struggling China operation. It has reduced its overall net debt by three quarters.