Kingfisher profit boost

Published:  25 March, 2010

LONDON: Kingfisher, Europe's largest home improvements retailer, beat profit forecasts and increased its dividend and spending plans.

Pre-tax profit rose 49% to £547m in the year ended January, beating analysts' average forecast. The dividend was lifted 3.3% to 5.5 pence a share.

The company said cost cuts and business improvements would help it to keep winning in tough markets.

The group, which runs market leader B&Q in Britain and Castorama in France, said today it was raising its dividend by for the first time in five years and almost doubling capital spending to £400m.

Ian Cheshire, chief executive, remained cautious about the outlook for consumer spending, joining other retailers that warn of uncertainty over the general election and steps to cut government borrowing that could hit demand.

Cheshire is confident Kingfisher would cope, thanks to a continued focus on cost cutting and moves to boost profit margins like more joint purchasing by its chains and buying more goods directly from cheaper manufacturing centres like Asia.

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