B&Q owner upgrades profit outlook as it rides DIY boom

B&Q owner Kingfisher has hiked its half-year profit outlook after seeing sales soar as the DIY boom shows no sign of slowing.

The group’s B&Q chain saw like-for-like sales rocket 81.9% higher in the three months to April 30, although trading from a year earlier was impacted by temporary store closures in the first lockdown.

Even on a two-year comparison with the pre-pandemic period in 2019, B&Q sales were 42.3% higher thanks to the surge in spending on DIY and garden products by Britons stuck at home during lockdowns.

Including its Screwfix business, total UK and Ireland sales were 65% higher in its first quarter and 38.6% up on a two-year basis.

It added that like-for-like sales in its second quarter so far across the UK and Ireland are 23.9% higher.

With a similarly strong showing across its international brands and expectations for DIY demand to remain strong, Kingfisher lifted its first half profit outlook to between around £580 million and £600 million.

For the full-year, it now expects to increase underlying pre-tax profits ahead of sales, having previously targeted profits in line with sales.

Thierry Garnier, chief executive of Kingfisher, said: “With the strong start to the year, we now anticipate first-half sales and adjusted pre-tax profit to be ahead of our previous expectations.

“Whilst the second half of the financial year remains naturally uncertain, we continue to see supportive long-term trends for our industry and are confident of continued outperformance of our wider markets.”

Its update showed that group-wide like-for-like sales lifted 64.2% in the first quarter and were 22.5% higher on a two-year basis.

While DIY stores have been allowed to remain open throughout the restrictions in the UK, online sales continue to surge due to the shift towards internet shopping in the Covid-19 crisis.

Kingfisher’s overall online sales rose 63% on a year earlier and more than tripled, up 258%, on two-year comparisons.

Online sales now account for more than a fifth, or 21%, of all sales, the group said.