Kingfisher, Europe’s largest home-improvement retailer, has reported an 8.9% increase in retail profit to £96m, in the three months to May 3. The rise has been largely attributed to cost cutting measures and a decrease in its number of promotions.
However, sales were weak in the UK, falling 5.8% to £997m in its B&Q stores, a reflection of the bad spring weather which impacted on sales of outdoor products, which fell almost 40%.
In the company’s trading update it states that profit recovery in the UK will be the largest single driver for improving shareholder value. It is rolling out of new products, focusing on improving both service and B&Q store environments. Among other planned changes, it is also working on revamping around 20 of its larger stores in 2008/09.
Group chief executive Ian Cheshire says trading remained tough, as inticipated, particularly in the UK.
“The poor weather was unhelpful for sales of outdoor products. Sales of indoor products, including higher ticket, project related categories, held up well despite the unfavourable consumer backdrop. Against this backdrop, we have taken vigorous action to improve margins and control costs,” he says.