B&Q sales down in Q1 against strong comparatives

Home improvement retailer B&Q has reported a decline in first quarter sales but against ‘very strong’ prior year comparatives.

B&Q sales fell -17.8% to £996m with like-for-like sales down -18.3%, reflecting very strong prior year comparatives and the impact of storms in the UK in February.

However, over a 3-year basis, sales were up 16.3%, in particular in the building & joinery, outdoor and bathroom & storage categories.

“Own exclusive brands (OEB) performed well in the quarter, supported by resilient demand in the kitchen and bathroom & storage categories,” Kingfisher, parent company of B&Q and Screwfix said, added: “LFL sales of weather-related categories were -28% (+25% on a 3-year LFL basis). LFL sales of non-weather-related categories, including showroom, were -14% (+13% on a 3-year LFL basis). TradePoint, B&Q’s trade-focused banner, continued to outperform with LFL sales -8% and 3-year LFL sales +32%. TradePoint sales were 21% of B&Q sales in Q1.”

Overall, total sales in its UK & Ireland division fell -14.1% to £1.5bn (LFL -15.8%; 3-year LFL +16.7%). “Significant market share gains over the past two years, and good retention of revenue from new and existing customers,” the group said.

Furthermore, Kingfisher confirmed appointed of Bill Lennie as a Non-Executive Director, with effect from 1 May 2022. Bill retired in 2021 after 26 years of service with The Home Depot, most recently as Executive Vice President, Outside Sales and Services.

Total group sales during the quarter were down 5.8% to £3.2bn, with the company expecting year-end profits to be in the region of £770m.

Thierry Garnier, Chief Executive Officer, said: “Kingfisher has delivered a good first quarter of trading, with LFL sales 16.2% ahead of our pre-pandemic performance. While facing very strong comparatives in the prior year, our continued strategic progress has enabled us to retain a significant proportion of the increased sales during the pandemic.

“We continue to effectively manage inflationary and supply chain pressures. As a result, our product availability is now very close to ‘normal’ levels across all our banners, and we continue to deliver value for our customers through our own exclusive brands and competitive prices.

“Looking forward, we are reiterating our profit guidance for FY 22/23. We are focused on delivering on our strategic objectives and growth initiatives, including the growth of our scalable e-commerce marketplace, the expansion of Screwfix in the UK and France, new store openings in Poland, further increasing our trade customer base.

“We remain committed to delivering attractive returns for our shareholders and are today announcing a further £300m share buyback programme. This reflects our strong cash generation and our confidence in the Group’s outlook.”

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