Testing times for the group behind B&Q as sales decline

Shares of Kingfisher Plc (KGF.L) were declining around 7 percent in the morning trading in London after the home improvement retailer reported Wednesday weak sales in its first quarter on a constant currency and like-for-like basis amid continued weaker sales in France.

For the Kingfisher group as a whole, sales dropped 0.6 percent in stores that had been open a year or more in the three months to the 30th April. B&Q sales were less of a driver, rising 0.5 per cent in the period.

Shares in B&Q owner Kingfisher crashed nearly 7% on Wednesday after weak sales in France and disruption from its turnaround dragged on the business.

Screwfix again saw the strongest growth, with like-for-like sales up 12.6% in the first quarter, while B&Q sales only increased by 0.5% held by store closures and the group's restructuring plans.

In the Ireland and the United Kingdom, overall like-for-like sales grew by 3.5pc driven by a strong Screwfix performance, where sales grew an impressive 12.6pc on a like-for-like basis. "In addition, we are experiencing some business disruption given the volume of change, as we clear old ranges, remerchandise new ranges and continue the roll out of our unified IT platform", Véronique Laury, ceo of Kingfisher said.

However, the company said it remained on track to deliver its two year strategic milestones.

Kingfisher, which trades as B&Q and Screwfix in Ireland and the United Kingdom and Castorama and Brico Depot in France and other markets, said like-for-like sales were down 5.5% in France, but rose 3.5% in Britain and Ireland.

Sales in its French stores Castorama and Brico Depot fell 5.5%.

In early trading, Kingfisher was the top FTSE 100 faller, shedding over 6.5% to 335.6p.

We have set ourselves up well for our transformation, which continues in line with our plans.

  • Zachary Reyes