Resilient first half for B&Q parent group

The parent group of DIY retailer B&Q has reported a decline in half year sales as well as a reduction in profit.

According to the latest Kingfisher trading update for the six months ended 31 July 2022, total group sales were 4.1% to £6.8bn from £7.1bn against the same period last year. Adjusted profit-before-tax was also down 29.5% to £472m from £669m.

However, Kingfisher said that sales are significantly ahead of pre-pandemic levels (3-year LFL sales +16.6%), supported by market share gains.

UK & Ireland sales were down 11.6% with B&Q sales declining 13% in the period. B&Q saw an overall improvement in 1-year LFL trends from Q1 to Q2, benefiting from more favourable weather and improved product availability. Sales of cooling products at B&Q were particularly strong in July given the unusual heatwave.

Thierry Garnier, Chief Executive Officer, said: “Kingfisher has delivered a very resilient first half of sales. While facing very strong comparatives from the prior year as well as a more challenging environment, LFL sales were 16.6% ahead of pre-pandemic levels with a sequential improvement from Q1 to Q2. This was driven by the extension of share gains in all our key markets, reflecting successful execution of our strategy, and resilient sales from both DIY and trade customers. We are now back to pre-pandemic levels for in-store product availability and maintaining competitive pricing across our banners.

“Looking to the months ahead, although trading in the year to date has been in line with our expectations, we remain vigilant against the more uncertain economic outlook for the second half. We are therefore focussed on delivering value to our customers at a time when they need it most. You can expect continued strong execution, with a focus on growing sales and market share, effective management of our gross margin, and alignment of our costs and inventories to market conditions.

“With the business and our balance sheet in a strong position, we continue to invest in opportunities to drive growth. B&Q successfully launched its first home improvement marketplace during the period, and we are now preparing for marketplace launches in France, Poland and Iberia.

“These investments, together with the proven resilience of the home improvement sector, our balanced exposure to DIY and DIFM/trade, and our strong and consistent execution, support our confidence in continuing to grow ahead of our markets.”

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