In the UK and Ireland, B&Q total sales dropped 3.3% to £1,773m in H1, impacted by the axing of installation services and declines across showroom and weather-related categories. Kingfisher reported a number of exceptional items for the half year ended 31 July, including a £68m restructuring charge relating to redundancy costs following the group’s plans to close 11 stores in France and 19 Screwfix Germany outlets. The retailer described financial performance in the half as “mixed”. Screwfix, Poland and Romania delivered like-for-like sales growth for the period. However, sales at B&Q and Castorama France, were disappointing, with the retail group attributing declines to “a weak consumer backdrop in the UK and disruption caused by new range implementation”, alongside ongoing transformation-related issues at Castorama France. B&Q like-for-like (LFL) sales declined by 3.2% in H1.
Online was a more positive story, as B&Q’s total digital sales continued to make good progress, with sales growing by 10% and now representing 5% of total sales. The retailer also recorded a £1 million profit in the period on the disposal of properties in the UK.
Screwfix grew total sales by 9.9% (+5.1% LFL) to £882m, driven by specialist trade desks exclusive to plumbers and electricians, strong digital growth of 18% (now accounting for 32% of total sales); and the continued roll out of new outlets. The retailer opened 16 new Screwfix outlets in H1 19/20, taking its estate to 643. The company’s longer-term target is to operate around 800 outlets in the UK, and the business said it remains “on track” to open stores in the Republic of Ireland in the second half of the year in order to complement its existing online presence. Total sales for the Kingfisher Group were down 0.9% in constant currency.
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