Kingfisher sales dented by weak French market

Screwfix remains a bright spot for the B&Q owner

Kingfisher, Europe's largest home improvement retailer, reported a small fall in underlying sales in its latest quarter, with a weak performance in France only partially offset by strong growth at Screwfix in the United Kingdom and in Poland.

Sales at the trade counter business, which is a Leading retailer in IRUK Top500 research, grew by 16.6% in total in the quarter to October 31, compared to the same time a year ago.

B&Q UK and Ireland, meanwhile, a Top50 business in IRUK Top500 research, saw total sales fall by 2.8%, or 1.9% LFL, reflecting its programme to close unprofitable space. The group's shares have lost more than 18 percent of their value over the past year, and are down by some 14 percent in the year-to-date.

Its French business only managed to eke out a 0.4 per cent rise in sales in the third quarter.

Kingfisher chief executive Veronique Laury said: "We remain on track to deliver our full year strategic milestones, for the second year in a row".

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Kingfisher, Europe's largest home improvement retailer, on Tuesday reported a small fall in underlying sales in its latest quarter, reflecting a weak performance in France.

Looking ahead, for fiscal 2018, the company said it remains comfortable with consensus underlying profit before tax expectations of 785 million pounds.

The third quarter has followed a similar path to the first half of the year, with weak French sales still plaguing Kingfisher, while it also tries to minimise disruption from its transformation plan, through which it is aiming to streamline the business.

"Early customer reaction to our new ranges continues to be encouraging". "We continue to act on the causes of this disruption, which we are confident will ease". "We recognise that the transformation plan involves a lot of change for our colleagues and appreciate their continued hard work and expertise".

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