Kingfisher quits Russia, Spain and Portugal as French sales tumble

B&Q owner reports weak quarterly sales in French chains Castorama and Brico Depot

Kingfisher’s shares fell as much as 5.8 per cent on Wednesday, taking losses for the year to more than 30 per cent. Photograph: Paul Faith/PA Wire

Kingfisher’s shares fell as much as 5.8 per cent on Wednesday, taking losses for the year to more than 30 per cent. Photograph: Paul Faith/PA Wire

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Kingfisher, Europe’s second-largest home-improvement retailer, reported weak quarterly sales in France and said it would pull out of Russia, Spain and Portugal, sending its shares lower and raising questions over its plan to increase profit.

The group is in the third year of five-year programme to raise annual profit by £500 million from 2021. However, profits are forecast to go backwards in its 2018-2019 year.

Kingfisher’s shares fell as much as 5.8 per cent on Wednesday, taking losses for the year to more than 30 per cent, after the group, whose main businesses are B&Q and Screwfix in Ireland and Britain, and Castorama and Brico Depot in France, reported a fall in underlying sales in its third quarter.

Chief executive Véronique Laury, who has cut Castorama’s prices and revamped its marketing, warned “there is no quick fix” for that business.

Kingfisher’s like-for-like sales fell 1.3 per cent in the quarter to October 31st, reflecting the weak performance at Castorama France, where sales on the same basis slumped 7.3 per cent – worse than analysts’ expectations of a fall of about 3 per cent.

Like-for-like sales in Britain and Ireland fell 0.7 per cent in the quarter. – Reuters

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