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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive / Foreign Exchange Dealer - OTE £40,000+

£16000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Foreign Exchange Dealer is re...

SThree: Experienced Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £40000 per annum + OTE + Incentives + Benefits: SThree: Established f...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE 40/45k + INCENTIVES + BENEFITS: SThree: The su...

Recruitment Genius: Collections Agent

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company was established in...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones