The Week Ahead: Kingfisher set to disappoint as Screwfix sales rise

In a bank holiday shortened week, company updates are dominated by shareholder meetings, with no fewer than 21 on Wednesday

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The Independent Online

Kingfisher is likely to disappoint any investors hoping for signs of a revival in the DIY market over the May bank holidays. Analysts at Jefferies expect that the B&Q owner’s new chief executive, Veronique Laury, will unveil a 2 per cent drop in like-for-like sales at its B&Q stores for the first quarter on Thursday.

In another sign that a “do-it-for-me” culture is replacing “do-it-yourself”, Kingfisher’s trade-focused building supplies chain Screwfix is expected to support the overall group’s results, with underlying sales up 10 per cent. Kingfisher is already planning to close up to 60 B&Q stores, while rival Homebase announced last autumn that it will shut down a quarter of its 323 outlets by 2018, blaming “the rise of a new generation of consumers less skilled in DIY”.

Further insights into the shifting market could come from building supplies specialists Travis Perkins on Thursday and from Polypipe, which holds its annual investor meeting tomorrow.

In a bank holiday shortened week, company updates are dominated by shareholder meetings, with no fewer than 21 tomorrow.

Among these, the board at the spread-better Plus500 could be in for a stormy ride, after it emerged that co-founders Gal Haber and Alon Gonen are in line for substantial pay rises. Plus500 shares plunged last week after it suspended thousands of customers’ trading accounts to carry out belated anti-money laundering checks. The AIM-listed company has promised a further update at its annual meeting tomorrow.

Recent signs that the construction sector did not contract as much as first feared could see first-quarter GDP growth revised up marginally on Thursday. A quarterly increase, albeit of just 0.1 per cent, in industrial production should also help lift GDP, from 0.3 per cent in the first estimate to 0.4 per cent, taking the annual rate to 2.5 per cent, according to IHS Global.

Cineworld is expected to give a positive update at its annual meeting today, according to analysts at Peel Hunt.

Blockbusters such as the latest Avengers film have boosted UK box office takings, while Fifty Shades of Grey was particularly strong in Poland. The chain now boasts 1,875 screens across Europe and Israel.