B&Q owner Kingfisher sees sales boosted by home improvement boom

B&Q owner Kingfisher has reported a sales jump over the past three months as the pandemic helped drive spending on home improvements.

It revealed total group sales rose by 17.6% to £3.5 billion for the quarter to October 31, with a 17.4% increase in like-for-like sales.

The company, which also runs Screwfix in the UK, said it saw like-for-like sales growth slow to 12.6% in the first weeks of the current quarter as it was impacted by a tightening of restrictions across Europe.

It said all of its stores remain open to customers despite lockdown measures, due to their essential status.

The company also told investors that it has rapidly grown its online business during the pandemic, with e-commerce sales up 153% in the third quarter.

UK sales bounced 21.5% higher during the period, with B&Q posting 23.9% revenue growth as it saw particularly strong sales for outdoor products.

Meanwhile, Screwfix delivered 17.4% growth as it continued to have solid sales with trade customers.

Kingfisher chief executive Thierry Garnier said: “We achieved strong sales growth in the third quarter across all retail banners and categories, with higher footfall and average transaction value.

“Our growth was supported by strong market demand, as consumers spent more time in their homes and focused on improving them.

“Overall, we believe that the renewed focus on homes is supportive for our markets.

“Furthermore, we are confident that the strategic and operational actions we have taken so far are helping us to build a strong foundation for long-term growth.”

Adam Vettese, analyst at eToro, said: “Up until now, Kingfisher has struggled to capitalise on the DIY boom that has gripped the nation since coronavirus first struck.

“While it beat expectations and posted a profit in the first half of the year, the B&Q owner’s sales were a disappointment and it seemed as though it had missed out on a golden opportunity to gain from the renewed interest in self-completed home maintenance projects.

“However, it has clearly got its act together in the third quarter, as evidenced by strong sales across all of the countries it operates in.”

Shares in the company were 4.3% lower at 286.5p in early trading on Thursday.