Kingfisher reports UK sales down
Published: 03 December, 2010
LONDON: B&Q owner Kingfisher said total sales were broadly flat at £2.691bn with good growth internationally offsetting a decline in the UK and Ireland where the business was facing its toughest comparatives for 14 quarters.
Retail profit was up 8.2% driven by the international businesses and continued margin and cost self-help initiatives across the Group.
Net cash at period end was £203m (31 July 2010, £19m). Kingfisher said it expects to remain net cash positive at the year end with some capital expenditure projects now likely to fall into the next financial year.
In the UK and Ireland, Kingfisher total sales were down 3.7% to £1.051bn (-4.2% LFL) in challenging markets and against particularly tough comparatives (2009/10: +3.9% LFL). Retail profit, however, was broadly flat, supported by continued gross margin and cost initiatives.
B&Q UK and Ireland's total sales were down 4.7% to £924m (-5.1% LFL) when compared with a very strong Q3 last year (2009/10: +5.7% LFL) that was boosted by a successful programme to clear stocks held at the top of in-store shelving. Reported sales across all categories were down a similar amount reflecting the lower footfall.
Retail profit was £38m (2009/10: £43m) because of gross margin percentage increasing by 110 basis points, supported by more direct sourcing and further shrinkage reduction.
Screwfix total sales grew 4.1% to £127m, with retail profit £8m, up £5m year on year.
Ian Cheshire, group chief executive officer, said: "This quarter is significant for our overall annual profitability and I am pleased that our well established programme of self-help initiatives continued to deliver another solid performance. In particular, our businesses outside the UK performed strongly, accounting for 80% of the quarter's profit.
"In France, our innovative 'Do-it-Smart' marketing programme, which aims to make home improvement jobs quicker and easier for people, is helping to drive growth in sales and profit. In Poland, we delivered solid profit growth in a market which is starting to stabilise after a difficult first half."