Next and B&Q eye expansion after surprise surge in profits

Both chains also raise dividends for shareholders

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.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Guru Careers: Pricing Analyst

£30 - 35k: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Pricing Analyst to join a leading e-...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K YR1: SThree: At SThree, we like to be dif...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Did you know? SThree is a mul...

Guru Careers: C# Project Team Lead

£55 - 65k (DOE): Guru Careers: A unique opportunity for a permanent C# Develop...

Day In a Page

Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor
The ZX Spectrum has been crowd-funded back into play - with some 21st-century tweaks

The ZX Spectrum is back

The ZX Spectrum was the original - and for some players, still the best. David Crookes meets the fans who've kept the games' flames lit
Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman

Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people used to believe about periods

Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people once had about periods

If one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
The best work perks: From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)

The quirks of work perks

From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)
Is bridge the latest twee pastime to get hip?

Is bridge becoming hip?

The number of young players has trebled in the past year. Gillian Orr discovers if this old game has new tricks
Long author-lists on research papers are threatening the academic work system

The rise of 'hyperauthorship'

Now that academic papers are written by thousands (yes, thousands) of contributors, it's getting hard to tell workers from shirkers
The rise of Lego Clubs: How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships

The rise of Lego Clubs

How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships
5 best running glasses

On your marks: 5 best running glasses

Whether you’re pounding pavements, parks or hill passes, keep your eyes protected in all weathers
Joe Root: 'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

Joe Root says the England dressing room is a happy place again – and Stokes is the catalyst
Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada