Kingfisher slips as wet weather affects footfall

DIY group Kingfisher yesterday reported a plunge in pre-tax profits for the six months to 28 July, hurt by the “uniquely awful” weather in the UK over the summer.

Profit at Kingfisher, which owns Screwfix and B&Q, plummeted 15.5 per cent to £371m, down from £439m over the same period last year as seasonal product sales fell seven per cent.

The washout summer “significantly impacted” footfall, Kingfisher said, and resulted in a higher level of discounting across the stores.

Profit was also impacted by adverse foreign exchange movements between the value of the euro and zloty – eastern Europe is its biggest market – when converted back to sterling, which knocked £25m off the top-line figures.

Half-year sales fell 3.3 per cent to £5.4bn, primarily driven by poor retail sales in the UK.

Ian Cheshire, group chief executive, said yesterday that outdoor maintenance, gardening and leisure products in particular, which normally account for a “significant proportion” of first-half sales, suffered from the lower footfall.

Kingfisher’s French operations performed better in the first half, although Cheshire told City A.M. that the country was a concern over the second half due to uncertainty over Hollande’s tax policies, as consumers would be “sitting on their hands”.