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
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
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

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Recruitment Genius: Client Services Assistant

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Client Services Assistant is ...

Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor