Warm weather boosts DIY chain

Consumer demand for outdoor products in the warm spring weather helped DIY chain B&Q double its first quarter profits, the firm revealed today.





B&Q parent Kingfisher - the world's third largest home improvement business - said retail profits for the UK arm of the chain rose to £58 million in the 13 weeks to May 2, from £29 million in the same period last year.

Sales of outdoor items soared 30 per cent in the quarter, while bathroom and bedroom sales were slightly up, pushed higher by new ranges and the withdrawal of competitors from the market.

Overall UK profits - which includes results for Screwfix - were up 89.2 per cent to £61 million in the quarter.

Kingfisher said profits were driven by higher sales, margin and cost improvements.



Kingfisher said global group profits were up 38.5 per cent at £128 million, helped by the B&Q result, but like-for-like sales were 1.7 per cent down, driven by drops in performance in France and China.

Ian Cheshire, group chief executive, said: "We have made a good start to the year, boosted by better weather and a later Easter.

"B&Q in particular capitalised well on this increased demand, growing its market share and doubling its retail profit."

But he expressed caution over the outlook for the rest of the year.

"Looking ahead, we are unlikely to see a weather-driven seasonal bounce in demand again in 2009 and we continue to plan for a particularly tough balance of the year in our major markets," he said.

"As a strong business with tight control over margins, costs and cash, we are increasingly better placed to benefit when consumer demand improves."

B&Q like-for-like sales grew 3.2 per cent in the quarter, with outdoor products attracting the most attention.

The firm said sales of its metal garden furniture sets were up 107 per cent, charcoal barbecues were 148 per cent higher and vegetable seeds saw a 43 per cent uplift as people took to their gardens in the warm weather.

Bedroom and bathroom sales increased despite weaker consumer demand for so-called big ticket items. The firm said this was partly down to the collapse of furniture giant MFI, which disappeared from high streets at the end of last year.

Sales of DIY and decorative products were down 2 per cent.

Kingfisher has embarked on a strategy of lower-cost large store revamps. By re-using existing fixtures and fittings and completing the changes quickly, B&Q has refreshed some outlets at reduced cost.

The firm said it now has 119 large stores, with 59 in the modern format and 203 medium-sized outlets, of which 172 have been modernised.

Retail analyst Matthew McEachran, of Singer Capital Markets, said B&Q had well exceeded consensus forecasts of £35 million for the quarter and had almost matched full-year expectations of £59 million already.

He said: "Although B&Q has clearly been a beneficiary of seasonal weather, we see the strategic turnaround plans as being capable of delivering more upside in the remainder of the year, including quarter two particularly in light of work on range and availability.

"The seasonal weather patterns in May also lead us to believe that B&Q has got off to a cracking start so far in the second quarter."

Kingfisher shares rose more than 7 per cent following today's figures.

Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
art
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleActor, from House of Cards and Benidorm, was 68
News
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsEnd-of-year leaver's YouTube film features staging of a playground gun massacre
Travel
travel
PROMOTED VIDEO
Voices
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act, says Simon Kelner
News
i100This Instagram photo does not prove Russian army is in Ukraine
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
Sport
sportVan Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
Life and Style
Martha Stewart wrote an opinion column for Time magazine this week titled “Why I Love My Drone”
lifeLifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot... to take photos of her farm
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
filmReview: Sometimes the immersive experience was so good it blurred the line between fiction and reality
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
i100
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Environment
Tyred out: should fair weather cyclists have a separate slow lane?
environmentFormer Labour minister demands 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists
News
people
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

1st Line Support Technician / Application Support

£20000 - £24000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A leading provider of web based m...

Team Secretary - (Client Development/Sales Team) - Wimbledon

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Secretary (Sales Team Support) - Mat...

Accountant / Assistant Management Accountant

Competitive (DOE): Guru Careers: We are looking for an Assistant Management Ac...

Senior Investment Accounting Change Manager

£600 - £700 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Senior Investment Accounting Change...

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices