Kingfisher sees sales rebound thanks to warmer weather

B&Q owner Kingfisher said the DIY chain has enjoyed a sales bounceback thanks to warm spring weather after Britain basked in a sun-soaked Easter weekend.

The group reported like-for-like sales growth of 2.8% for B&aQ in the UK and Ireland for the three months to April 30, which marks a turnaround on recent trading and from a year earlier when the Beast from the East extreme weather pushed sales 9% lower.

Kingfisher said this year’s warmer weather helped boost sales by around 6%, although this was offset by a hit of about 2% as it ended some showroom installation services.

Kingfisher’s outgoing chief executive, Veronique Laury, said: “The group delivered positive sales growth in the first quarter, with sales of unified and unique ranges continuing to grow ahead of non-unified ranges.”

She added: “At this early stage of the year our expectations for the full year are unchanged, and we remain confident in our ability to deliver significant financial benefits over time.”

The group’s Screwfix business saw like-for-like sales rise 4.5% over the first quarter, with four new outlets opened over the first quarter.

But its French operations remained under pressure, with sales down 2.4% across Castorama and 5.1% lower at Brico Depot.

Comparable store sales rose 4.2% across its other international chains, leaving overall group sales up 0.8%.

The trading update comes as the group searches for a successor to under-fire boss Ms Laury.

It announced in March that she planned to step down, but has not yet set a departure date and Ms Laury will remain in post until a successor is appointed.

Ms Laury’s departure was announced as the group also revealed in March that profits tumbled 52.8% to £322 million for the year to January 31.

On an underlying basis and stripping out costs including £111 million for store closures, pre-tax profits fell 13% to £693 million.

The group’s results showed B&Q sales dropped 3% on a like-for-like basis over the year, while Screwfix remained the star performer with a 4.1% rise in comparable sales.

But, in spite of the profits and sales woes, Kingfisher’s annual report this month showed Ms Laury’s total pay package swelled 11% to £1.8 million thanks to a hefty salary hike and bonus awards.

Ms Laury picked up a 4%, or £30,800, salary hike, £522,000 annual cash award and £333,700 in long-term bonus shares.

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