Tuesday 22 September 2020 11:59 am

Kingfisher profit jumps as online sales rise during lockdown

B&Q-owner Kingfisher increased its pre-tax profit by 62.4 per cent in the first half of the year as a strong second quarter and online sales growth boosted the retail group.

The FTSE 100 firm also said it had seen “an encouraging start to the second half of the year”. It said like-for-like sales were up 17 per cent in the third quarter.

Read more: B&Q owner Kingfisher forecasts higher profits as demand continues

Kingfisher shares jumped 8.6 per cent to 287.4p. That put it at the top of the FTSE 100 climbers list.

The figures

Kingfisher’s statutory pre-tax profit rose 62.4 per cent in the six months ended 31 July 2020, its results showed. That took profit up to £398m.

Adjusted pre-tax profit – which does not take into account exceptional items – was up 23.1 per cent compared to a year earlier to £415m.

Sales over the period slipped 1.3 per cent to £5.92bn, reflecting the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

But online sales grew an enormous 164 per cent. That meant they made up 19 per cent of total group sales in the first half of 2020, compared to seven per cent a year earlier.

Kingfisher’s earnings per share rose to 15.1p. Its free cash flow rose five-fold to £1.04bn.

What Kingfisher said

Kingfisher, which owns B&Q and Screwfix in the UK and Castorama and Brico Depot in France, said it had benefited from people doing up their houses and gardens during lockdown.

“The crisis has prompted more people to rediscover their homes and find pleasure in making them better,” said chief executive Thierry Garnier.

“It is creating new home improvement needs, as people seek new ways to use space or adjust to working from home.”

Read more: UK retail sales grow for fourth consecutive month

Kingfisher sad its strong second-quarter recovery had continued into the third quarter. Yet Garnier warned: “There remains considerable uncertainty around Covid-19.”

“Looking forward, while the near term outlook is uncertain, the longer term opportunity for Kingfisher is significant,” he added.