DIY retailer delivers ‘resilient’ sales and grows market share

Home improvement retailer B&Q has reported a growth in sales as overall UK and Ireland revenues rose.

According to the latest Kingfisher, parent company of B&Q, final results for the year ended 31 January 2024, total group sales fell 0.6% to £12.9bn from £13bn in 2023. Pre-tax profit resulted at £475m, down 22.3% from £611m.

UK & Ireland like-for-like sales rose +0.8%, with a positive performance supported by resilient e-commerce and trade customer sales, as well as market share gains at B&Q, TradePoint and Screwfix.

Total sales increased 3% to £6.3bn, with B&Q sales growing 0.4% to £3.8bn. Retail profit decreased 8% to £555m, with profit margin down to 8.7% from 9.7%.

“In the UK & Ireland, trading in November was in line with the Q3 trend, followed by a weaker December, resulting in slower building & joinery, EPHC and ‘big-ticket’ category sales,” the group said.

“We then saw a recovery in January to the same trend as November. Core and ‘seasonal’ category sales were positive in January, offset by weaker ‘big-ticket’ sales. B&Q, TradePoint and Screwfix all grew faster than their respective markets in Q4, as measured by the British Retail Consortium (BRC), Barclays and GfK.”

On B&Q, the group said that sales growth in surfaces & décor and tools & hardware categories were positive, while it delivered resilient sales in building & joinery and outdoor.

Thierry Garnier, Chief Executive Officer, said: “Despite all the macroeconomic and consumer challenges in our markets over the past year, we have stayed focused on our customers and our long-term strategy. I am immensely proud of all our teams for their efforts.

“In the UK & Ireland, B&Q, TradePoint and Screwfix each delivered resilient sales and market share growth – in particular very strong gains at Screwfix. In France, where the market has been impacted by low consumer confidence, we have made significant adjustments to the cost base and started to embed e-commerce marketplace and trade customer initiatives similar to those successfully implemented in the UK. And in Poland, where we faced strong comparatives and a tough economic backdrop, sales trends are gradually improving in line with the consumer environment.

“Looking forward, we remain confident in the attractive growth prospects of the home improvement industry and our ability to grow ahead of our markets. In the short term, while repairs, maintenance and renovation activity on existing homes continue to support resilient demand, we are cautious on the overall market outlook for 2024 due to the lag between housing demand and home improvement demand. Against this backdrop we will remain agile and focused on what is within our control – leveraging our strategy to deliver market share growth, driving productivity gains, and managing our costs and cash effectively.

“In line with this view, we reaffirm our medium-term financial priorities, focused on growth, cash generation and attractive returns to shareholders.”

The group expects pre-tax profit of c.£490m to £550m for the year ahead, with current like-for-like sales for the first quarter down at -2.3%.

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