Next and B&Q eye expansion after surprise surge in profits
Both chains also raise dividends for shareholders
Friday 26 March 2010
Two of the UK's biggest retailers posted a surge in 2009 profits yesterday, but both warned of a tough and uncertain consumer environment ahead.
Next, the fashion and homewares retailer, posted an 18 per cent rise in pre-tax profits to £505m for the year to January 2010 and signalled an acceleration in the rollout of its standalone Next Home stores.
Meanwhile, the global DIY retail group Kingfisher, which owns B&Q, crafted a 48.6 per cent jump in adjusted profits to £547m and the first growth in its dividend for five years.
Next and Kingfisher gained from better-than-expected trading conditions in the retail sector last year, but both also boosted their bottom line by keeping a tight control on costs and stock, and improving the product offer.
Simon Wolfson, the chief executive of Next, which upgraded its profit forecasts by a record five times over the year, said: "Things have turned out very differently to how we expected at the start of the year." Group sales at Next jumped by 10.8 per cent to £3.41bn over the year. The retailer, which has 517 stores, proposed a final dividend of 47p, lifting the growth in its annual payment by 20 per cent.
Mr Wolfson also said that of the 20 new stores Next will open this financial year, 12 will be standalone home stores on retail parks. He said: "The home stores have performed 43 per cent ahead of expectations. We have now reached a critical mass and people now see us as a one-stop destination where they can get products, such as sofas and cutlery."
Over the 53 weeks, retail sales at Next rose by 3.5 per cent to £2.27bn.
Mr Wolfson said he thought it was "unlikely" there would be a double-dip recession in the UK, but warned: "The consumer environment is going to be tough for sometime until the [public sector] deficit is sorted out."
In the DIY sector, Kingfisher, which has operations in countries including Poland, France and China, delivered a 4.8 per cent uplift in total sales to £10.5bn for the year to 30 January 2010. The UK's biggest DIY chain B&Q, with 330 stores, posted a 79.4 per cent uplift in retail profits to £195m.
Ian Cheshire, the group chief executive of Kingfisher, said it would roll out its Trade Point business – a dedicated area in stores serving bonafide trade customers – to 118 stores by the late summer.
Targeting the £20bn UK trade market, Trade Point will provide an in-store catalogue offering 8,000 items held in a warehouse behind the counter.
Kingfisher also plans to pilot eight new shop-in-shops, including areas for storage products, home cleaning, garage workshops and eco-friendly items.
But Mr Cheshire said Kingfisher plans for a "difficult market" this year.
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food
iJobs Money & Business
$200 - $350 per annum: Carlton Senior Appointments: Managing Producer Office...
$125 - $225 per annum: Carlton Senior Appointments: San Fran - Investment Advi...
Up to £70,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...
Up to £65,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...