Kingfisher to step up expansion

 
City A.M. Reporter
Kingfisher plans to step up its expansion as well as measures to boost profit margins, as it battles tough trading conditions in many markets.

The group, which runs market leader B&Q in its home market and Castorama and Brico Depot in France and elsewhere, met forecasts with a 23 per cent rise in full-year profit before tax and one-off items to £670m.

Earnings were boosted by steps to boost profit margins, such as buying more goods centrally and directly from cheaper manufacturing centres like Asia.

Sales were down 0.5 per cent to £10.5bn.

"Although I see no let up in the challenging environment in the short-term, I am excited by our future prospects," chief executive Ian Cheshire said.

He laid out detail of a management incentive scheme which aims to lift underlying earnings per share to 31.2 pence in 2013/14 from 20.5 pence in 2010/11.

As well as continuing the drive to improve margins, the group sees scope to grow its store network to over 1,100 from 856 in existing markets, as well as entering new territories.