Rain halts sales.

Wet weather depresses B&Q sales

Published:  14 September, 2012

LONDON: B&Q owner, Kingfisher – which also owns tools supplier Screwfix as well as Castorama and Brico Depot in France – said record rainfall in the UK and northern Europe helped prompt a 7% drop in seasonal product sales in the 26 weeks to 28 July.

B&Q in the UK and Ireland suffered a 6% like-for-like decline in sales to £2bn as average footfall plunged 20% in the severely weather-affected weeks.

The wider group reported a 17% slide in bottom-line pre-tax profits to £364m in the period as sales dipped 3% to £5.5bn. Chief executive, Ian Cheshire, said: "This has been a tough first half with unprecedented wet weather throughout the key spring and summer seasons in northern Europe.

"This affected footfall and demand for outdoor maintenance, gardening and leisure products, which normally account for a significant proportion of our first-half sales."

The group said the cost of accelerating its national rollout of new common own brands in the UK cost around £10m in the period, while it also took an exceptional charge of £5m, relating to streamlining support offices. Kingfisher group retail profit in the UK and Ireland declined by 20% to £145m, reflecting weak seasonal sales and additional markdowns to clear seasonal stocks.

At B&Q, sales of building products were hit by the adverse weather, while sales of indoor decorative products were up as customers switched some of their home improvement activities indoors.

The chain saw retail profit slide 24% to £125m. Screwfix grew total sales by 9% to £273m, driven by the continued rollout of new outlets and the recent introduction of a mobile 'click, pay & collect' service.

The chain opened 25 new outlets in the first half, taking the total to 240, with retail profit jumping 19% to £20m. In France, retail profit was down 5% at £191m, while sales fell 6% to £2.2bn.

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