Kingfisher's trade sales firm but B&Q struggles

Published:  21 July, 2011

LONDON: Kingfisher, which operates B&Q in the UK, said in a trading update today that the impact of Focus's rush to clear stock had driven like-for-like UK sales down 5.5% over the three months to July 16.

Ian Cheshire, chief executive, said: "These are testing times for retailers," and warned more of "challenging" trading conditions ahead.

Like-for-like sales at B&Q in the 11 weeks to 16 July fell 6.7%. Overall, Kingfisher's UK sales dropped by 5.5% with a good performance by trade supplier Screwfix offsetting some of the downturn at B&Q.

Kingfisher said rival Focus DIY going into administration and cutting prices to clear stocks hurt B&Q.

Sales at Kingfisher's two French chains, Castorama and Brico Depot were much stronger, adding 3.7% on a same-store basis during the 11 weeks.

Across Kingfisher's outlets in Poland, China, Spain and Russia, like-for-like sales added 1.4%.

Group-wide same-store sales were up 0.5%.

Despite the difficult trading conditions in the UK and Republic of Ireland, Cheshire said that it provided "an opportunity for strong businesses such as ours to strengthen their position".

"We expect to emerge from this year in excellent shape and well prepared to start delivering the next phase of our growth plans," he said.

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