Shake-up at DIY chain B&Q progressing ‘at pace’
- Credit: PA
B&Q parent Kingfisher said today it was ploughing on with a shake-up plan “at pace” as it reported a first quarter slide in sales at the DIY chain.
The retailer saw same store sales drop by 1.1% across B&Q UK and Ireland in the 13 weeks to May 2, with sales of outdoor seasonal and building products down by 4%.
A better performance from its trade-focused building supplies chain Screwfix, where like-for-like sales jumped 15.4%, helped the group’s overall UK and Ireland division to increase like-for-like sales by 1.6%.
Chief executive Veronique Laury, who took over from Sir Ian Cheshire in December, said the group was making “good progress” with its overhaul.
She announced in March that as many as 60 stores would be closed over the next two years, affecting around 3,000 jobs in the UK and Ireland – one of a number of “sharp” decisions as part of a revamp plan.
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On unveiling the latest sales figures, she said: “Our first ‘sharp’ decisions are being worked on at pace.”
The group added it had agreements to offload around a quarter of the stores earmarked for closure.
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Kingfisher said its UK and Ireland business was up against strong comparatives from a year earlier, when like-for-like sales rose 9.7% thanks to a later Easter and good weather.
The company, which also owns stores across Europe including Castorama and Brico Depot in France, said group-wide retail profits dropped 4.8% to £150million after suffering a £10m foreign exchange hit due to the weakness of the euro.
With currency impacts stripped out, Kingfisher said retail profit rose 1.4%.