Cost controls lift profits at Kingfisher

Cost cuts and sparing use of promotions helped B&Q's owner, Kingfisher, weather a 3 per cent fall in UK sales in the six months to 31 July. Profits in the UK and Ireland, where the DIY business has 330 stores, rose 15 per cent to £158m, while its Castorama and Brico Depot chains in France saw profits climb 14 per cent to £160m.

Overall profits rose 22 per cent to £248m on flat sales of £5.5bn.