Screwfix growth boosts Kingfisher

B&Q and Screwfix owner Kingfisher saw its third quarter results helped by another strong performance at Screwfix, but weakness in France continued, weighing on its performance.

Weak French markets continue to drag on B&Q owner Kingfisher but strength in UK and Poland saw total sales rise. Like-for-like sales at Screwfix rose 2.7 per cent and B&Q reported growth of 3.5 per cent. Unfortunately in France, where the company trades as Castorama, like-for-like sales fell 3.8 per cent

Screwfix saw sales rose by almost a quarter in the third quarter of its financial year helped, according to parent company Kingfisher, by its “leading digital capability”. Sales at the UK business of the trade supplies retailer came in at £343m in the 13 weeks to October 31, 23.1 per cent ahead of the comparable period last year.

The business expanded fast, with 11 new outlets opening during the quarter; like-for-like sales, which strip out the effect of store openings and closures, rose by a more modest 12.7 per cent. Sales growth, said Kingfisher in today’s statement, “was driven by its leading digital capability, new and extended ranges and 11 new outlets”.

At sister company B&Q UK and Ireland sales of £900m were 3.3 per cent down in total on the same time last year following a number of store closures. Some 59 of 65 planned store closures have now taken place, with seven closing in the third quarter. But like-for-like sales rose by 3.5 per cent, including a 2 per cent benefit from sales that transferred from closed stores.

UK and Ireland sales came in at £1.2bn, 2.8 per cent up on the same time last year – or 5.8 per cent, like-for-like. Kingfisher Group sales of £2.9bn were 11.5 per cent ahead in total, and 1.8 per cent like-for-like, after fast total sales growth in international markets – but like-for-like sales falls in the French and Spanish markets.

Chief executive Véronique Laury said the quarter had seen a solid sales performance that met expectations. “Sales have been driven by Poland and the UK, especially Screwfix, offset by softer sales in France,” she said. “We continue to make good progress on our strategic milestones in the first year of our five year ONE Kingfisher transformation, and remain on track. In addition, we are gearing up for next year when the level of transformation activity will significantly increase. We remain confident in our ability to deliver our ambitious plan, based on always putting customer needs first, supported by the expertise and energy of our colleagues.”