Kingfisher Home Improvement Retailer Report Fall in Quarterly Sales

( via — Thur, 17 Aug 2017) London, UK —

LONDON (Reuters) – Kingfisher (KGF.L), Europe’s largest home improvement retailer, reported another fall in quarterly sales on Thursday, hurt by a slowdown at its B&Q business in the UK, weak sales in France and continued disruption from its restructuring plan.

The firm, which trades as B&Q and Screwfix in Britain and Castorama and Brico Depot in France and other markets, said it remained cautious on the outlook for the second half.

Kingfisher is in the second year of a plan to boost annual profit by 500 million pounds from 2021 that will cost 800 million pounds over five years to deliver. It involves unifying product ranges across the business, improving e-commerce capabilities and driving efficiencies.

The group said like-for-like sales fell 1.9 percent in its second quarter to July 31 – a deterioration from a fall of 0.6 percent in the previous quarter.

Like-for-like sales in the UK and Ireland fell 1.0 percent and were down 3.8 percent in France.

In the UK B&Q’s like-for-like sales fell 4.7 percent – worse than analysts’ expectations of a fall of about 3 percent. It reflected a 10.7 percent dip in the sales of seasonal goods such as barbecues and garden furniture, after a strong first quarter boosted by better weather. Screwfix’s like-for-like sales rose 10.8 percent.

“Having been very aware that this year would be challenging given the step up in transformation activity, we already have self-help plans in place to support our overall Year 2 performance,” said Chief Executive Véronique Laury.

Kingfisher said it was comfortable with analysts’ average forecast of underlying earnings per share of 26 pence for the full 2017-18 year.

Shares in the firm, down 12 percent so far this year, closed Wednesday at 307.4 pence, valuing the business at 6.72 billion pounds.

By James Davey