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Profits sizzle at B&Q as barbecue sales rocket

WARM barbecue weather boosted sales at DIY chain B&amp;Q in the first quarter, helping parent group Kingfisher report a 40 per cent jump in profits yesterday.<br /><br />The retailer said that profits in the 13 weeks to May 2 were &pound;128m, smashing analyst expectations, which were around &pound;34m lower.<br /><br />Chief executive Ian Cheshire said the group had seen a 30 per cent lift in consumer demand for seasonal products, with charcoal barbecue sales up by 148 per cent over the quarter.<br /><br />Like-for-like sales at UK chain B&amp;Q rose 3.2 per cent, the first increase in two years, doubling profits at B&amp;Q to &pound;58m.<br /><br />But Cheshire said that another weather-related sales bounce in 2009 was unlikely.<br /><br />He added: &ldquo;This is a good start to the year, but it&rsquo;s just one quarter. If we get future help from the weather that will be fantastic, but we&rsquo;re being prudent.&rdquo;<br /><br />He also said unemployment was still a concern for retailers. But analysts were more optimistic, with many issuing upgrades of seven to eight per cent on the stock.<br /><br />Kingfisher&rsquo;s results were again dragged down by its Chinese arm, where losses widened by 25.7 per cent to &pound;14m.