DIY group Kingfisher’s sales jump 22 per cent as stores reopen after lockdown

Group owns outlets including B&Q and Screwfix

Photograph: Paul Faith/PA Wire

Photograph: Paul Faith/PA Wire

 

B&Q-owner Kingfisher said its underlying sales jumped 21.8 per cent year-on-year in its second quarter to June 13th as its European stores emerged from coronavirus lockdowns, encouraging people to take on do-it-yourself projects.

Kingfisher, which owns Screwfix and Castorama and Brico Depot in France and other markets, said it could not provide specific guidance for its 2020-21 year given the uncertainty around the pandemic.

The group has seen an improving relative sales trend, with like-for-like sales moving from being down 74 per cent in the first week of April to over 25 per cent up since the second week of May.

All of Kingfisher’s UK and French stores were closed for in-store purchases from March 23rd and 15th respectively, though click and collect and home delivery options were made available. It gradually re-opened its UK and French stores in the second half of April.

It said it has seen a fourfold increase in e-commerce sales since mid-March.

The group has taken steps to reduce costs, preserve cash and boost liquidity to get it through the crisis. As at June 12th it had access to over £3 billion (€3.34 billion) of cash, providing significant liquidity headroom.

For its year to January 31st, Kingfisher reported adjusted pretax profit down 5.2 per cent to £544 million on total sales down 1.5 per cent to £11.5 billion.

Statutory pretax profit fell 65.7 per cent to £103 million after it took £441 million of exceptional items, largely reflecting impairments for its stores and Russia.

The group said in March it would not pay a final dividend. – Reuters